Toy Story 3 (DS)
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this version of Toy Story 3 for the Nintendo DS (or DSi) is a completely different game from the console versions and that it is more appropriate for younger kids because its violence is less graphic and the action less frenetic. That said, there is some violence; and it is still too hard for kids younger than age 7 so that it will not be right for all kids seeing the movie. Even though it repeats some of the same movie scenes recreated in the console versions, it offers a completely different spin on those scenes, with new challenges and new controls. It also has many levels and features not included in the console versions.
What's it about?
The DS version of TOY STORY 3 follows the same plotline as the movie that inspired it (the film's plot is a more pivotal aspect of the DS game than it is to the console versions of Toy Story 3). When Andy gets ready to go off to college, his toys end up at a day care center, where they make new acquaintances and eventually attempt an escape. The action in the game alternates between 3-D platform-jumping and object-hunting levels, and strategy-based tower defense games. In those strategic levels, players erect toy defenses (plunger darts, ball pits, etc.) to protect their home base from an army of opposing toys.
Is it any good?
The story-based action levels of Toy Story 3 (DS) are long and creatively designed. They're heavy on platform jumping, but include some very imaginative steps along the way, like swinging from balloon strings and boucing along darts in a wall. Some neat fantasy segments take you into the more "realistic" sci-fi world of Buzz Lightyear or the Wild West world of Woody, where the action picks up pace and changes focus to dodging obstacles, and in Buzz's case, shooting (though not in a graphic way). It's a nice change of pace when it comes. The strategy levels -- which can be also played individually, outside of the story mode -- are a real treat, offering a kid-friendly incarnation of the classic "tower defense" type of video game. Just seeing the different types of toy "attackers" is part of the fun, as there was a whole lot of imagination put into the design of these games.
Online interaction: This game connects to Disney's online social community, D-Gamer, where kids can create avatars and send messages to one another in a supervised environment. In the game, kids can win many, many prizes for use in the D-Gamer world, mostly in the form of costumes and accessories for their avatars.
Families can talk about...
Buzz and Woody are great examples of an ideal friendship. In what ways do they show their feelings for one another? How does their loyalty to one another show in their actions?
In the game, you can earn a whole lot of collectible prizes for use in the D-Gamer online community. If you aren't already registered on D-Gamer, do all those prizes make you want to join? How much do collectible prizes like that add to the enjoyment of a video game?