Game Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (DS)

PERCY_BOXPercy is a troubled kid who just can’t seem to fit in. But there’s a reason for that. One day, the creatures from Greek Mythology that Percy is studying come to life! Turns out that Percy is actually the son of Poseidon, Greek god of the sea. Someone has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt, and Percy is to blame! Now the boy must use his new demi-god powers and rely on his newfound friends to save Mount Olympus and the world. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief for Nintendo DS is an RPG based on the popular book and recently released movie of the same name.


In the game, you play as Percy and move around a world map with points of interest. At each stop, Percy talks to friends and events unfold, then usually a battle or two starts. After defeating the enemies and gathering clues and items, Percy moves on to the next spot on the map and the cycle repeats.

The RPG styled turn-based 3-D battles are the meat of the gameplay. Touch the skill or attack you want to use on the bottom screen. These skills take off notches from a meter, and the same goes for the enemy. So you can watch the meters and know who gets to attack next. By using certain skills, you can fill up a team meter and when it’s full, you can unleash a powerful team blow against your opponents. The game is over if you and your teammates are defeated.

Timing is important in battles as well. If you tap the touch screen at the right moment when an enemy attacks, you can block some of the damage. When you perform a critical hit, make sweeping strokes with the stylus to increase the damage done to the enemy. And finally, during team attacks you must trace a Greek symbol quickly and accurately to boost the effect of your attack.

After winning battles, you get items and gain experience points. Once you level up enough, you can upgrade your skills and learn new ones. After certain events you earn Drachmas: special coins that, when equipped, give you a status boost. You can manage your party, toggle skills, and equip Drachmas at a menu on the map screen.

RPG veterans who enjoy exploring a huge world and dungeons may not like Percy Jackson’s basic and linear game very much. But fans of the book, movie, or Greek Mythology in general might find some enjoyment in this. Since it saves every time you’re on the map, it’s also a quick, pick-up-and-go kind of game.


Kid Factor:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is rated E-10 for Everyone 10 and up with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence. You can perform and see attacks and magic on-screen, and defeated friends and enemies usually just fall down with an “Ugh!” There are extensive and easy in-game tutorials imbedded in the game’s story, so it’s good for RPG beginners. But since everything in the game is text-based, good reading skill is a must. Kids who enjoy Pokemon battles will be familiar with the gameplay found here (although Pokemon is a much more interesting game, really). Families with strict religious beliefs may not like some of the themes in the story. If your kids are old enough to enjoy the book and movie, they’ll be OK with the game, too.

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