A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia is an action/adventure game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows based PCs. The game's based on the popular Trollhunters animated series on Netflix, with references to the entire Tales of Arcadia animated trilogy. Players run, jump, and slide in a side-scrolling platform world, fighting against various fantasy creatures and bosses that stand in their way. Although players use swords, magic spells, and other attacks, there's no onscreen blood. Instead, defeated enemies disappear with flashy effects. The game's easy to pick up and play, though some technical issues can potentially make the game unplayable at times.
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What's it about?
TROLLHUNTERS: DEFENDERS OF ARCADIA drops players into a brand new tale of fantasy and action set in Guillermo del Toro's hit Netflix animated series, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia. Players step into the role of Jim Lake, Jr., the first human Trollhunter and the hero destined to save two worlds. Jim's destiny, as well as the fate of all existence, is threatened when the trickster troll Porgon stumbles across an alien device which, when combined with his magic, gives the troll control over time itself. Protected by the power of his magical amulet, Jim sets out to keep Porgon from altering the timelines and changing the course of history, or worse, breaking the timestream and wiping out all of existence. Luckily, Jim won't have to fight alone, teaming up with Claire Nuñez and her Shadow Magic skills in couch co-op play to stave off the impending "time-pocalypse."
Is it any good?
This adventure game manages to avoid almost everything that makes its source material appealing. The basics for Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia seems like a guaranteed hit. If you combine the creative storytelling and imagination of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro with the talents of DreamWorks Animation and the backing and reach of Netflix, you've got the recipe for success that's Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia. The series has built a huge following thanks to a near perfect combination of fantasy, comedy, and adventure that instantly grabs the attention of audiences young and old. Unfortunately for fans, virtually none of this carries over to Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia, the first major video game release based on the hit show.
One, and probably the only, real positive about Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia is its presentation. The game looks and sounds great, faithfully recreating the aesthetic of the show. Unfortunately, it all goes downhill from there. The gameplay has been oversimplified to the point that it lacks any sort of excitement. It quickly becomes a monotonous chain of jump, attack, jump, attack, wash, rinse, repeat. There's not a real challenge, at least not intentionally. There are some frustratingly difficult points that result not from innovative game design, but rather from technical glitches where the game completely falls apart and forces a restart. These literal game breaking moments are rare, but once is enough to discourage fans from even bothering to try again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Talk about violence in kids' programming. Is the impact of the violence in Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia affected by the way that it's shown in animated shows targeting younger audiences? How might tie-ins like video games raise that level of violence in frequency or presentation?
How can games based on television shows or movies help to expand a franchise? How can original stories help to build on existing material in new and exciting ways?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Outright Games
- Release date: September 25, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: September 29, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.