A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Where the Wild Things Are is based on both the book and the movie, but that it has its own unique storyline. Kids direct the intrepid but angry Max as he explores the island of where the Wild Things monsters live. Kids can release some of Max's anger by thwacking things in the environment like bee hives, gooey monsters, and flower bushes; but they can also direct their aggression at the Wild Thing monsters. If provoked, these monsters will eat Max, swallowing him whole in a visual than is meant to be silly, because as soon as it happens, Max is immediately returned to right before the eating occurred.
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What's it about?
Like the classic children's book and the movie of the same name, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE starts with little boy Max arriving on an isolated island where he finds a group of big scary monsters. Intrepid Max faces these yellow-eyed, giant-clawed beasts and roars back at them to get their attention. The first part of the game is spent by Max going on adventures with the monsters to prove that he is as wild as they are. Later in the game, Max discovers that something is seriously wrong with the Monsters' island and he tries to help them. During the game, kids will complete quests, collect hundreds of objects, fight pesky insects and gooey spider-like creatures, dance with and hug the monsters, race over land and in the water, and solve puzzles about how to navigate different environments.
Is it any good?
The game is fascinating to explore. Each monster has its own personality which translates into a unique gaming level. When Carol monster puts Max on top of his head, players must direct Carol's movements as he crashes through forests where trees are constantly falling down. As you race, you have to decide if Carol should jump over or slide under each log, when to punch through shrubbery, and how to weave to avoid boulders and other obstacles. With the big feathered monster Douglas, he periodically leaves you a pile of feathers so that you can fly over great expanses.
While the world seems big, the story is linear and kids can only navigate parts of it at a time. The platform puzzling and racing gets gradually harder, but never too hard that you can't play through it. And since this is a kid's game, there are unlimited lives and frequent save points. Three levels of difficulty let you decide how mean the enemies that you must fight will be. Both Max and the monsters can appear angry and are seen taking their aggression out on the environment. Since Max only utters two lines in the whole game, he is a little hard to bond with even though you are controlling his actions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why kids wanted to play this game. Was it because you had read the book or seen the movie? Would it have been as much fun if you hadn't? Which did you like best? The classic Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are book, the Where the Wild Things Are movie, or this video game. Why did you choose the version that you did?
Do you think that the monsters represent a side of Max's personality or are they just quirky creatures?
Which monster did you enjoy playing with most?
For kids who love make-believe
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