This month sees a batch of new games released and competing for your child's attention on Nintendo DS. Here's what to expect from some of the most high profile titles:
The Jonas game is based on the singing brothers' TV show, which is shown on the UK on the Disney Channel. But you don't need to have seen the programme to play the game. My daughter had only ever heard of The Jonas Brothers from their appearance in the film Camp Rock, but she still enjoyed playing this one.
This game will appeal to any child who's interested in pop music and hankers after a life of fame. The story of the game follows the day-to-day life of our heroes, as they're chased by fans, play a concert and – yes! – have to do the dishes for their mum. Yes kids, even being a global superstar doesn't mean you can escape your chores. There really is a game where you can earn points for doing the dishes. I love that.
Players can choose which of the brothers they want to be, as they move through a series of mini games. You can rock out in performances, dress up in (frankly silly) outfits and play around with life as your average teen pop superstar. Just don't forget to do your chores!
Also released this week are games based on two recent blockbuster films:
If you enjoyed the book and recent film of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, the game offers a chance to get more involved in the action. One important point you need to be aware of if you're thinking of buying this game is that, whilst the film was a PG certificate, the game is a 12. The main reason for this seems to be that in this role-playing game, our hero shoots and kills demons. And if you look at the pictures on the pack, they do look a bit gruesome. But once you get into the game itself, it's less gory than you might expect.
I played this alongside my 10-year-old, who's a fairly sensitive soul, with every intention of turning it off if the action got too gory.
We battled Minotaurs, but found them fairly tame and not at all frightening. There are lots of different creatures, and even a teacher turns into a monster at one point. We found this game to be very addictive and kept going back to play a few minutes more, so this would be great for long car journeys.
And despite the 12 rating, we didn't find it scary at all – no nightmares after playing this one. I am pretty strict when it comes to allowing my children to chop the heads off zombies, but all in all these fights are bloodless.
And since the story is centred around Greek myths, there is an educational basis to the action and you will learn whilst you're playing. I can see this appealing to children who like to think they're a little bit more grown up than their age suggests, and also being a big hit with fans of the Horrible Histories books.
If anything, we found the game of Alice in Wonderland to be way creepier than Percy Jackson, even though this one is rated suitable for age 7+.
The Alice in Wonderland game is "inspired by" the Tim Burton film rather than based on it, so unfortunately you do not get Johnny Depp to play with. Shame. But still, this animated adventure is no less visually stunning than the film that inspires it.
You don't need to have seen the film to play the game, though it does follow the same basic plot of the movie, as Alice is on a quest to defeat the Red Queen.
Given the dream logic of the original story, you know that this is one game where you can expect the unexpected, and never be quite sure of what's coming next. It's a platform adventure game with lots of puzzles to solve along the way. I think the 7+ rating is about right, as younger children might find this game too complicated.
This is one of those games that will appeal to boys and girls alike, and their parents will probably want to join in too. We liked whacking things with the rabbit's watch and chain, but then we are fond of simple pleasures.
These games are out now from all major retailers, and are available in Wii format as well as Nintendo DS.
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