The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun Game Poster Image

The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun

(i)

 

Good TV adaptation with scary monsters, cartoony violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Loyalty and cooperation among family is a theme in the story, as well as the importance of protecting rare endangered species (even if those species happen to be bizarre monsters).

Positive role models

Zack is brave, knows when to ask for help, marvels at nature, and usually listens to his parents (but not always). Characters within game are diverse.

Ease of play

The graphics look 3-D, but the game really plays along a set path (a style sometimes called 2-1/2 D). The linear nature of the movement makes control much simpler. There's a lot of platform-jumping involved, but the task is less frustrating here than in many other games of this ilk.

Violence

Heroes use both fists and weapons (flaming swords, magic staffs, rocket laucher) to battle creepy monsters and masked enemy agents who themselves wield arms such as ray guns. Zack, the young protagonist, can control monsters he has defeated and use them to do the fighting for him. Monster usually attack with sharp claws and teeth -- accompanied by growling and snapping sounds, some which sound gruesomely realistic. Defeated enemies yell and disappear. Descriptions of some creatures in the "cryptopedia" include violent descriptions, such as one monster that plucks the brains from its prey. This is never seen on screen.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Some trash-talking the bad guys and mild language like, "kick you butt."

Consumerism

The game is based on the animated Cartoon Network series, The Secret Saturdays. Merchandise (toys, T-shirts, DVDs) for the show is advertised for three pages of the instruction booklet.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this TV-based action game features some truly creepy characters and scary monsters. There's a good deal of violence, but it never goes beyong the cartoon level. The sound can actually be the most disconcerting element sometimes. For instance, when Zack (and, by proxy, the player) takes control of a large, snarling wolf-like beast, its attacks on the enemies are accompanied by truly vicious sounding chomping noises -- wet, growly snaps that could easily frighten a child.

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What's it about?

The Saturdays are a family of cryptozoologists who travel the world in search of rare and undiscovered species in order to catalog and protect them. In THE SECRET SATURDAYS: BEASTS OF THE 5TH SUN, an evil megalomaniac and his endless hordes of henchmen are out to poach parts from several of these rare \"cryptids,\" and use them for a formula they believe will extinguish the sun. The Saturdays, of course, come to the rescue.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Many games based on TV shows are flat-out lousy, but not so The Secret Saturdays. The art style -- thick-lined and colorful, just like that of the series -- is very attractive, and gameplay is blessedly varied. There's a lot of platform-jumping, but also some problem-solving, some button-mashing battles, some time-based challenges, some hide-and-seek creature-hunting, and more. You'll get a chance to control all the members of the Saturday family, plus many of the cryptid beasts that Zack can control with his magic staff. Each person or creature has different moves and powers, thus adding a lot of variety to the game. All in all, Beasts of the 5th Sun offers a solidly entertaining gameplay experience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about real-life endangered species. Why is it important for real zoologists to find and monitor animal species on the brink?

  • Parents can also discuss the way the Saturdays -- a family -- work together in the story. What do your children think about a kid battling evil alongside his parents? What about the two creatures -- a yeti-like beast and a giant lizard -- that the Saturdays consider part of the family?

  • Also, what's the relationship between the game and the television show? Can the game stand alone? Or do its creators want players to watch the show as well?

Game details

Platforms:PSP, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi
Price:$29.99–$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:D3Publisher of America
Release date:October 21, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence

This review of The Secret Saturdays: Beasts of the 5th Sun was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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