The Tale of Despereaux (Console)



Movie-based game with frustrating, inconsistent controls.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

You play as a little mouse with overly big ears who is the hero of the story. You are brave and refuse to bow to the pressure to conform. The story is about how even the very small can be heroic.


As Despereaux, you wield a sword (made out of a sewing needle), or a corkscrew. In one scene, you must fight big hairy spiders that are bigger than you are. In another, you dodge knife blades with dried blood on them. When you dispatch enemies (spiders and other bugs), they fall over and fade away. No blood is shown.

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This is a game based on the movie The Tales of Despereaux.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

Families can talk about...

  • Familes can talk about why it is that many children's games are based on movies. Did you buy this game because you had seen the movie? Was it fun to play, or did the inconsistent controls bother you?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Windows, PlayStation 2
Available online?Not available online
Release date:December 12, 2008
ESRB rating:E10+ for Animated Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence

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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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Adult Written byjanette ocho December 29, 2008

i cried laughed

Teen, 15 years old Written byKaitlyn1999 December 12, 2009


I LOVE this book and game!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old October 24, 2009
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
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