Rise of the Guardians (Wii, PS3, 360, DS, 3DS, Wii U)

The Rise of the Guardians video game is based on the recently released DreamWorks computer animated movie. The evil Pitch and his nightmares are threatening to envelope the world in fear, so it’s up to the guardians of children’s hopes and dreams to team up and stop him. Play as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and Guardian newcomer Jack Frost as they battle Pitch’s nightmares in each of the Guardian’s realms. The Rise of the Guardians video game is available for nearly every modern gaming console, but the Wii and DS versions are reviewed here.

In the Wii version, you’ll play as one of the guardians and up to three other players can join in at any time to be the others. The computer will control the rest. Each guardian has his or her own special attacks. Press the A button for regular attacks, and wave the Wii remote, nunchuck, or both for special moves that you’ll unlock later. Some guardians, like Santa and Jack Frost, specialize in close range attacks. While others shoot long range projectiles like Easter Bunny’s eggs and the Tooth Fairy’s teeth. View the action in a top-down perspective as you battle waves of nightmare creatures in this action-brawler.

There are five areas that you can explore and fight nightmares: a sleepy northern town, Santa’s workshop, the Easter Bunny’s springtime warren, Tooth Fairy’s sky palace, and Sandman’s flying ship. You can view a map for each area to find missions to complete. These include defeating waves of nightmares, finding guardian artifacts, or protecting guardian friends. Complete enough missions and a portal will open so you can fight one of Pitch’s nightmare leaders. Collect gems from defeated nightmares to power up each guardian’s attributes.

The DS version is nearly identical to the Wii game, except since there is only one character on the screen instead of four, it’s more of a single player affair. Both versions have problems and snags of their own, though. While the menus are easy to wade through on the DS version, they feel a bit cumbersome on the Wii. And sometimes it’s hard to tell where the missions are and when they start, so goals are pretty unclear. The gameplay is average at best, and only the biggest fans of the movie will really enjoy the game.

Kid Factor:

Rise of the Guardians is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence. The Guardians hit dark nightmare creatures with weapons and projectiles, but they just disappear when defeated. When the heroes run out of energy, they just become transparent because they ran out of ‘belief power.’ If you’re OK with your kids watching the movie, they’ll be OK playing the game. Reading skill is a must for the text, and younger gamers may need help since the goals are a little unclear. Luckily, the Wii game supports four players, so the whole family can jump in.

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