Wolverine and the X-Men (Leapster)

 
Good educational content lost in scary, violent imagery.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Saving the world is all well and good, but you get nowhere without knowing your geometry.

Positive role models

Wolverine is a hero who is out to rescue his kidnapped friends, but he always seems too eager to get into a physical confrontation. He thrives on the thrill of the fight. One of Wolverine's compatriots, Emma Frost, wears a skimpy, midriff-revealing costume.

Ease of play

The challenge and difficulty levels are very well geared toward the target age group.

Violence & scariness

The player controls Wolverine in fights against Sentinel robots. Wolverine slashes the robots with his claws until they break apart; the robots blast Wolverine with red beams that make him cry in pain when he's hit. Wolverine takes out bad guys in a series of still frames that show the hero approaching the villains and then standing over their unconscious bodies. Some of the bad guys are seen holding large guns.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game uses popular Marvel Comics characters and images from the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wolverine and the X-Men integrates educational math, geography, and reading activities into a superhero adventure story that also features robot battles with no apparent educational value. Images of men with guns, explosions, and the hero's slashing claws are repeated throughout the story. Also, be aware that Wolverine's female teammate, Emma Frost, wears a very tight, midriff revealing costume.

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What's it about?

In the WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN Leapster game, the evil Mutant Response Division (MRD) has kidnapped innocent mutants all over the world, including most of the X-Men. Wolverine must travel around the globe, rescuing his teammates and fighting off the MRD's laser-blasting sentinel robots. He follows patterns during motorcycle chases, slashes his way through doors in specified geometric shapes, and uses shape codes to get into locked rooms. His teammate Emma Frost solves spelling problems on her computer and deciphers map coordinates to help him locate the mutants.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The integration of the educational content in Wolverine and the X-Men works very  well in some areas (using the map to locate countries, using geometry to break codes and slash through metal doors) and less in others (using letter sounds to locate kidnapped allies). Most notable here, though, is the violent imagery. Yes, the game is based on superheroes who, by definition, will get into fights, but the inclusion of flat-out fight scenes with no educational content is surprising. And the presence of guns in the game is actually quite shocking, even if they are never used.

Online interaction: Leapster 2 users can win rewards, like certificates or coloring pages, which can be downloaded from the LeapFrog.com website when the Leapster 2 unit is connected to a PC via USB cable. With an online account at LeapFrog.com, parents can also track their children's progress through this same connection.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Wolverine's eagerness to fight. He fights to rescue his friends, but would there be a different way for him to save them? Is fighting always necessary?

Game details

Platforms:Leapster 2, Leapster
Price:$24.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:LeapFrog
Release date:June 11, 2010
Genre:Educational
Topics:Superheroes
ESRB rating:NR for (Leapster, Leapster 2)

This review of Wolverine and the X-Men (Leapster) was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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