Game review by
Carolyn Koh, Common Sense Media
Xia-Xia Game Poster Image
Simple platform-puzzling game for fans of crab toys.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Although a simple collection game, kids are finding, rescuing, and collecting all the Xia-Xia pets' friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are cutesy hermit crabs who are helpful and noble.

Ease of Play

Although there isn't a tutorial, the controls are explained in the instruction booklet and the game's simple platforming action is easy to pick up. Kids use the directional keypad on the left and two buttons on the right of the device.

Violence & Scariness

There are no overt advertisements, but the game is based on a popular brand of collectible toys and will likely encourage kids to play with and collect the Xia-Xia pets.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Xia-Xia for the DS is an adventure game based on the collectible toys, Xia-Xia Pets. The simplicity of the platform-puzzling makes it suitable for younger children, although they must have the dexterity to handle two buttons at one time. The game also does not make use of the device's wireless capability so there are no privacy worries.

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What's it about?

In the XIA-XIA game, you choose a Xia-Xia hermit crab pet to lead through a maze to collect items needed to attain the goal for that level. To move around the maze, kids must jump, glide, and float to reach platforms. Underwater currents will push you certain ways, and springforms will help you jump higher than normal. Levels can be replayed to attain a different goal than the first time through. Along the way, there are friends and accessories to find, as well as a hidden starfish, before you can unlock the next level.

Is it any good?

Xia-Xia helps to teach kids who are new to gaming how to play an easy platform puzzler. Kids can't fail and there are no scary baddies. Just a fun underwater environment to explore and friends to rescue.  There is a little dressing up of your character with the shells you've collected and checking your collections, but Xia-Xia is mostly about navigating through a maze while figuring out how to collect all of the items you need to make it through. The game uses visual clues so kids can figure out what they need to do next in the game. Arrows point the correct way, streams of bubbles float upwards, gates have a pattern that let kids know what key they need to find to unlock it. Younger kids may have a little difficulty with the actual controls, but kids who enjoy the Xia-Xia pets will likely enjoy collecting and dressing up virtual Xia-Xias as well. The 25 levels can eventually seem a little repetitive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can also talk about selling to kids and how games can also be advertising. Did you know about Xia-Xia Pets before playing this game or did you want this game because you like Xia-Xia Pets?

  • Families can talk about how the Xia-Xia Pets, which are hermit crabs, can change their shells. Why do hermit crabs do that?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: GameMill
  • Release date: March 20, 2012
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love pets and nature

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