A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a game based on the movie The Tale of Despereaux. As a mouse, you will encounter a variety of enemies to fight, the scariest being large hairy spiders. You will use a sewing needle as a sword to fight enemies who fade away when defeated. In one scene, you will need to avoid knife blades with dried blood on them. The controls are inconsistent making this a frustrating game to play for all but the most dedicated gamers.
What's it about?
In THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, you control a little mouse with overly large ears, who is different from all of his fellow mice because he is not afraid. This game is based on the movie of the same name, and recreates the story originally told in Kate DiCamillo's book, The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread. The game unfolds over 15 levels, during which Despereaux explores a castle, meets Princess Pea, and then goes on a quest to rescue her after she has been kidnapped.
Playing as a mouse, you learn how to run, jump, shimmy up walls, leap and fly using your big ears, tiptoe past humans, jump from wall to wall, swing down ledges, and straddle narrow opening so that you can walk up them, as well as other mouse actions. Fighting is done by waving the Wii remote in different directions and adding in some button presses.
Is it any good?
Exploring these vast envionments from a mouse's point of view is fascinating. And it is very helpful to have a path of cheese to follow to help you figure out how to get through each of the levels. But, unfortunately, controlling this little mouse is anything but easy. Despereaux floats places you don't expect him to go, and even with the cheese showing you a path, it takes lots of patience to make this little mouse do what he is suppose to do. For example, at one point, he is supposed to jump from wall to wall to make it up to the top. Instead of being easy, you may find yourself just hurling the little rodent against the walls in hope that he will find that magic spot that lets him keep going instead of falling off. The game's fixed camera view also causes frustration as you find yourself flinging yourself off of a ledge and hoping you will land on something instead of falling to your death.
On a positive note, there are lots of save points within the levels, so that when you do die, it is easy to try again. Likewise, the new lives are easy to find, so it is rare that you have to start the level over. The game can be played on two levels of difficulty.
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