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Persona 5 Strikers

April 4, 2021

Persona 5 Strikers

Release date: 2/23/2021

Parent Score: 8/10
Fun Factor: 7/10

Persona 5 Strikers is fun, but with some elements you want to be aware of as a parent. With some good conversation-topic-generating themes, watch now to see what you should look out for in this game about the Phantom Thieves.

Reviewed by Alan Valdez
Published by: Atlus, Sega
Developed by: Atlus, Omega Force, P studio
Reviewed on: Playstation 5
Available on: Playstation 5,Playstation 4, Nintendo switch, PC.

Persona 5 Strikers is a spinoff game from the critically acclaimed Persona 5. This game is a hack and slash game similar to Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity from 2020 and the same people that make Dynasty Warriors. Strikers does have a heavy emphasis on story and dialogue, along with systems that are familiar to roleplaying games.

In Persona 5 strikers, you play as the Phantom Thieves, a group of teens that have superpowers in what is called “the metaverse” in which they can affect the cognition and personalities of people in real life. 

Generally there is a main enemy manipulating the real world in the metaverse and it is up to our scrappy group of heroes to save the day.  So what kind of content should parents watch out for?

Language

The game does have mild swearing, especially one of the main characters, Ryuji, who is the delinquent highschooler type, being the main culprit, using the S word multiple times in the playthrough.

Violence

The game being an action game is constantly engaged in fantasy violence, in which the heroes are dispatching dozens of enemies in flashy ways. There are ink blots that splash on the screen, comic book style, symbolizing blood, but it is presented in an artistic way, not gory or distasteful.

Sexual content

There are some characters in the game dressed provocatively. There are some monster designs that are phallic in nature, which flew over my 9 year old’s mind unnoticed, but older teens and adults would recognize them as such.

Positive messages

Persona 5 Strikers is a game full of real and deep topics that would prompt great conversation with your children. The characters feel real and deal with issues relatable to our children. From teenage relationships, consumerism, corrupt societies, to one adult character we meet having to deal with his career choice affecting his ability to parent. 

In this game, the struggles and messages about the power of friends and family to help us overcome such issues and the morality and responsibility of helping those in need cannot be understated.


FUN FACTOR 7 OUT OF 10

The game is full of action in a fun and stylistic combat, in which you try to find how to use the right tools against the enemies. It can get a little repetitive towards the end. But the other parts, such as the story and interactions more than make up for it. The writing is engaging and endearing. As such I give the game a 7 out of 10 in fun factor.

PARENT SCORE 8 OUT OF 10

  • + Positive messages about morality and responsibility
  • + Great moments for discussions between parents and kids
  • – Mild swearing
  • – Risque design on some characters
  • -/+ Fantasy violence

Just like with our written review of Persona 5 Royal, the game presents great opportunities for parents to talk about important topics with kids. The game is also safe in content aside from mild swearing and potentially risque attire. The fantasy violence is similar to that of games such as Hyrule warriors.

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The Last of Us

March 30, 2021

The Last of Us

Release date: 6/14/2013

The Last of Us leaves players with disturbing imagery, but also questions about morality and how we react to the world.

Parent Score: 5 out of 10 stars
Fun Factor: 10 out of 10 stars

Reviewed by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead
Published by: Sony
Developed by: Naughty Dog
Reviewed on: PS4
Available on: PS3, PS4, PS5

The Last of Us came out in 2013 and changed the video game landscape with it’s innovative content and memorable story. It continues to be played, more especially since its sequel came out in June 2020 and a TV adaptation is on the way.

The Last of Us is played in third-person as the player navigates a post-apocalyptic environment where a fungus has taken over the world and humans. You must explore, loot and always be ready for combat with whatever you have on hand.

The main character is Joel, who’s escorting a young teen, Ellie, across the United States through horrors: both human and monster. The relationship between the two is the core of the game. Both Ellie and Joel grow, and heal, through the story. Parents who play the game with their children may have their heartstrings pulled at numerous moments and as Ellie and Joel bond, perhaps parents and their children can bond through the game as well.

The Last of Us was well received with multiple Game of the Year Awards. It’s gameplay was ahead of its time and it’s beautifully crafted environments providing an immersive experience. There is a DLC available with backstories on the characters.

The Last of Us is rated Mature with the ESRB and not for under 17. However, I think older teens, 14 plus with some parent supervision can handle the story and violence. There is little to no sexual content but the dystopian world of death and torture is disturbing. In particularly there is a run-in with a group of cannibalistic humans that stays with you.

Despite that, the story brings up thought-provoking questions like: How much of our morality is based on our circumstances? What would I do if I was in the same situations as the heroes of The Last of Us? Who exactly are heroes and who are the villains in a world gone crazy? Those questions hit even harder in the sequel, The Last of Us 2.

Parent Review

5 out of 10
Violent, bloody and with frequent curse words The Last of Us is not a game for teens under 14.

 

Fun Factor

10 out of 10
The combat is slick and innovative and really makes the player think out of the box. The character development is strong and the post-apocalyptic world amazingly detailed and immersive.

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The Last of Us Pt 2

March 28, 2021

The Last of Us Part II

Parent Score: 3/10 stars
Fun Factor: 10/10 stars

The Last of Us leaves players with disturbing imagery, but also questions about morality and how we react to the world.

Reviewed by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead
Release date: 6/19/2020
Published by: Sony
Developed by: Naughty Dog
Reviewed on: PS5
Available on: PS4, PS5

When myself and Alan, the other reviewer currently on this site talked about The Last of Us Part II he didn’t want to touch it. In fact it was a long time before he literally touched the game–he refused to play it for over six months.

Why? Well The Last of Us Part II is one of the most well-reviewed AND controversial recent games out there. Alan had been inundated by streamers and other commenters saying The Last of Us Part II was the Worst. Game. Ever.

What was Alan’s verdict after actually playing it? “This was the best game ever.”

As the backseat gamer to The Last of Us Part II, over 40 hours of it, I agree with Alan. While I wouldn’t put it in my top three (that title will always go to Final Fantasy III on the Super Nintendo), it’s definitely up there.

The game stays with you. And it’s that fact, the deeply impactful scenes and story of the game that make me review this high in Fun Factor, but low in a Parent Review.

You’re back in the fungus-filled dystopian world of The Last of Us, except your protagonist Ellie is now a young adult, and her protector and (basically her father) Joel is a slower, gentler man approaching retirement age. Like the first title, The Last of Us Part II is very violent. I think it’s more violent and bloody than the first game. Blood flies on the camera, fills the corridors of abandoned buildings and is a near constant on Ellie’s face. 

Unlike the first title in the series, The Last of Us Part II has a different approach. This is where the story really stays with you. A criticism of this game is that it forces the player to play out very uncomfortable and even violent actions against their will. You’re forced to shoot animals–but also to sympathize with what you may have thought were the “bad guys.” But that’s how games are. You are the player, not the protagonist. 

In this game not only do you play as Ellie, but as Abby, another victim and survivor of this world. The story of the first game clouds over the entire game play–and the player really experiences the consequences of Joel’s, Ellie’s and others actions. The Last of Us Part II is rated Mature by the ESRB. But I feel it’s not just mature because of the violence, but the moral dilemmas and forced choices the player must make. Both quick fingers and a degree of empathy is needed to get through this game. Like the first game, you will leave asking the same question: Who exactly are the heroes and who are the villains in a world gone crazy?

Parent Review

3 out of 10
Extremely violent and uncomfortable. The Last of Us is not a game for teens under 14.

 

Fun Factor

10 out of 10
While many may disagree (this game was reviewed bombed on Metacritic) we felt the story of The Last of Us Part II was one of the best stories of all videogames for all time. Even more immersive than the first installment, this game frequently uses flashbacks to dive into character development even more. It deserves its many Game of the Year awards.

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Persona 5 Royal

March 24, 2021

Persona 5 Royal

Parent Score: 8 out of 10
Fun Factor: 10 out of 10

Deep and sometimes-silly, Persona 5 Royal is packed with memorable stories and characters that make you grow as a player and a person.

Reviewed by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead
Release date: 3/31/2020
Published by: Atlus
Developed by: Sega
Reviewed on: PS4
Available on: PS4, PS5

Support us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/digitalparenting or purchasing the game through our affiliate links.

In 2016, Persona 5, the hotly anticipated game, teased since 2013, finally came out. This role-playing game (RPG) was the sequel to the critically-acclaimed game Persona 4, the fifth installment of the popular Persona series. Persona 4, released in 2008 has since spawned spinoffs, a manga and a fan base that was eager for more. When Persona 5 came out it was once again released to praise. It has received near perfect scores on most game review sites and Nerdist said in 2017 that it “might be the best RPG ever made.”

In 2020, after even more anticipation Persona 5 Royal was released. This expanded edition contained the stories and new characters that the original developers could not fit into the first game. Once again, Royal has received praise: but is it the best for children?

Persona 5 Royal is rated M for Mature on ESRB and their review points out the blood, sexual content, discussions of drugs and suicide as a caution. Those criticisms are legitimate, but having gone through 110 plus hours of playing Persona 5 Royal with my family, I feel the impactful discussions and story we all experienced was more than worth it.

In this RPG the player makes decisions that have real and severe impact on the game. Some choices can even end the game dozens of hours earlier. Your choices in the game also affect your relationships with others, and a common theme of the entire story was the power of friendships and finding commonalities among differences. In playing with my child we had him make many of the choices–which brought up discussions and debate. It’s a very interactive game to play with a family and all of us had our own opinions, favorite characters and directions we thought should go next. 

While the game is rated for 17 plus I disagree and feel younger teens will benefit from playing the game. The main characters are high school and junior high school students, and the conflicts and situations they are dealing with are similar to what teens have to experience in real life. Playing out these scenarios in a game, may even help teens think through their own choices. For younger kids I recommend playing with an adult so that tough topics: sexual harassment, mental health etc. can be talked together.

Parent Score

8 out of 10
This expansive edition of Persona 5 requires many hours of game play, but more importantly makes the player truly think and even experience important and heavy topics.

Fun Factor Score

10 out of 10
Persona 5 can be played multiple ways with multiple endings. With strong character development, stories, art and more there’s a hundred plus hours of fun.

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Little Nightmares

March 18, 2021

Little Nightmares

Parent Score: 6 out of 10
Fun Factor: 8.5 out of 10

Eerie moods and creatures intrigue and frighten in this creative and puzzle-filled platformer.

Reviewed by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead and Alan Valdez
Release date: 4/28/2017
Published by: Bandai Namco
Developed by: Tarsier Studios
Reviewed on: PS5
Available on: PS4, XBox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Stadia

I heard about this game through the buzz about the sequel, Little Nightmares 2, coming out in February. The word “little” and the cuteish main character in a yellow rainjacket led me to think it may be a game my nine-year-old might enjoy.

He lasted about 5 minutes until he covered his head with a blanket and we turned it off.

This is not a game for young children, despite having a young child protagonist. But this is a unique game for teens and adults. The care and attention to detail the indie developer Tarsier Studios brings to Little Nightmares will have the player filled with questions, fear and sometimes shock.

Little Nightmares is a platformer where you guide the impish “Six” through puzzles, drainpipes and avoiding monsters in an overgrown, dark and creepy ship. There is no dialogue in the entire game, but the sets, scenes and side characters bring a troubling story to life. Little Nightmares has no blood, no sex scenes, no cursing—but it does have Six being shoved into an oven. As you play the levels you get glimpses of death and dystopia, where children are the victims. 

Little Nightmares is rated T for Teen although your mileage may vary. Although the violence is not always explicit, themes of child death may be disturbing for younger teens. Little Nightmares has a DLC where you can play as another child character, the Runaway Kid, and like the first story, there is similar violence and eeriness. 

Parent Review
6 out of 10 stars
Unique concepts, art and play but disturbing story

Gamer review

Little nightmares is an exquisitely crafted game, it has an ambience and mystery rarely seen done this well. The game shines almost every aspect, from the visuals, the audio, the puzzles, the story you have to piece together; the game has no dialogue.

The main thing that drew me in was the aesthetic, it is both beautiful and charming, while at the same time being eerie and disturbing. The game is mostly platforming and puzzles. In the former is where the game has some of its weaknesses. The controls are really good, but there are many times the game pans out to show us the enormity of the world in relation to our character. It is in these moments that the platforming suffers due to making it hard to see your character. In this case, it is a fine trade off, as the game’s biggest selling point is that sense of dread and being powerless against these giant threats.

The world itself is so fascinating, you are likely to spend many hours looking up lore videos on Youtube, I did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game and expectantly wait for it’s sequel.

Fun Factor
8.5 out of 10
The experience of this world alone is worth the price of admission. Great, albeit dark story and worldbuilding. Solid controls and well thought out puzzles sprinkled with some interesting boss fights, keep you going.

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Overcooked: All You Can Eat

March 15, 2021

Overcooked: All You Can Eat

Release date: 11/10/2020

Parent Score: 10/10
Fun Factor: 8/10

Packed with sounds, color and action, Overcooked delivers a helping of co-op challenges and fun.

Published by: Team17
Developed by: Ghost Town Games
Reviewed on: PS5
Available on: PS4, XBox Series X
Reviewed by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead

Support us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/digitalparenting or purchasing the game through our affiliate links.

Overcooked: Parent Review

The first Overcooked game, released July of 2017 brought fun and food into many homes. It also brought me calluses on my thumbs and a sore-ish throat from making so much noise!

Overcooked is a cooperative game played with 2-4 people where you must cook and serve meals in outlandish landscapes in very short timeframes. It has multiple levels that increase in difficulty–thus the sore throat. You must communicate clearly and quickly with your fellow cooks/teammates or can’t advance to the next level. 

The first Overcooked was a challenge, and perhaps that’s why I found Overcooked: All You Can Eat, a much easier game. Perhaps the developers realized they “bit off more than they can chew” with some of the particularly puzzling and complicated “kitchens” in certain levels.

Despite the challenge, the Overcooked games are a lot of fun. Overcooked: All You Can Eat revamps the first and second Overcooked Games and crams it with lots of different chef characters and bonus arcade levels. 

Overcooked are great family games that force you to work together and talk–a lot. We played it with our kid and enjoyed ourselves. Although I would say that young children, or newer gamers may struggle with the mobility and strategies required to play well.

Overcooked: All You Can Eat is rated E for everyone and has no violence, except for the many times my chef character “died” walking off a cliff or falling into lava!

 

Parent Review

10 out of 10

Entertaining and even educational with the level of communication and strategy needed.

Fun Factor Review

Overcooked is a great game to play with family and friends. The strength of these games generally is the stories you tell along with your teammates as you play. There are plenty of memories I will forever have of playing this game with my family. 

Because of this, a lot of co-op centric games don’t really appeal to the more “hardcore” gaming community, as they tend to be of lesser quality on gameplay and riddled with bugs. Overcooked is not one of these games. The gameplay mechanics of Overcooked are fairly tight and intuitive. The designers planned around the user experience when setting the challenges and it is masterfully executed. Playing both campaigns there was only one very small moment in which I shouted out “This is poorly designed!”.

The story is serviceable and quirky, very fitting with the game. The graphic and sound design are perfect for the style of game it is. I sometimes still hum the music as I am cooking for my family.

Fun Factor

8 out of 10

As far as co-op games goes it is a top contender. Fun gameplay and challenges.

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Little Nightmares II

March 9, 2021

Little Nightmares II

Parent Score: 6 out of 10
Fun Factor: 9 out of 10

Wonderfully executed visuals, sound and story. Paired with fun and engaging gameplay make for this a triumphant sequel. 

Written by Alan Valdez
Reviewed on PlayStation 5
Available on: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Support us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/digitalparenting

Little Nightmares 2 is a beautifully haunting, fun and potentially very scary platformer and puzzle game.

From the start of the game, Little Nightmares 2 projects it’s goal with it’s presentation. From the haunting music, to the almost claymation quality of the graphics, the game is filled with a disturbing and eerie atmosphere. 

The game does not have excessive gore like the horror genre generally does, what you see in that regard is more the leftovers of something that must have happened in the past, such as piles of dead bodies in a corner, or meat grinders. The main strength of the game comes from the atmospheric horror, not knowing what is around the corner and the feeling of being hunted by grotesque creatures. 

There is some violence towards your main character, a child named Mono, if you get caught. Such as getting shot at or eaten. These situations are not overly graphic, as the screen goes black after a second and you are left to imagine the rest. A couple of the main enemy battles are solved with them suffering a violent death, but these things are off screen, such as your character pointing a gun at a door and shooting through it. 

The game requires quick thinking and puzzle solving in order to traverse and survive the stages your protagonist, Mono, needs to get through. 

Overall, the main thing to keep in mind in regards to your children, is based on their experience with scary games/movies. Children under ten might get too scared from it. But ages eleven and up should love this game. 

The game does not contain language issues or nudity.

Parent score:
6/10

Taking a different approach from the normal cliches of horror, Little Nightmares 2 is a game that could scare younger children under 10. But it is a greatly designed and enjoyable game for older kids. 

From the beginning, you are treated to the superbly haunting soundtrack of this game, if I had to praise something about all else in this game, it would be the sound design. From the score to sounds such as wood creaks, the game pulls you right into the proper mindset.

The art is beautiful and charming in a disturbing way, from the child you play as Mono, and his companion Six, the protagonist of the previous game. To the grotesque and disfigured giant monstrosities you face as challenges. 

The gameplay has improved from the previous game, the platforming feels very tight and smooth. The gameplay with an AI partner might sometimes inspire worry, but in this case, Six is quite capable and aids you with   hints if you are stuck in some places. Mono’s special ability, later in the game, adds a level of fun and experimentation to the puzzles that feels right at home.

Your relationship with Six feels tender and real, as two children working to survive in this world. 

The story is again a mystery to piece together, the design of the city you traverse is gigantic and decrepit, it makes you wonder what has happened in this world. 

Little Nightmares 2 improves on everything the first game did and tells a great story.

Fun Factor
9/10

Wonderfully executed visuals, sound and story. Paired with fun and engaging gameplay make for this a triumphant sequel. 

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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

March 8, 2021

Super Mario 3D world + Bowser’s Fury

Release date: 2/12/21 

Parent Score: 10 out of 10
Fun Factor: 8 out of 10

Platformers such as Mario games are really good at teaching perseverance, if you miss a jump or are defeated, you are right there back in the action ready to tackle whatever challenge was thrown at you.

Written by Alan Valdez
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Available on: Nintendo Switch, Previous version without Bowser’s Fury on Wii U

Support us through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/digitalparenting

Mario games have been the gold standard for family fun for over 35 years. Content wise, there is no safest bet than a Mario game. As such I would like to focus on the things that this game can teach our children.

Platformers such as Mario games are really good at teaching perseverance, if you miss a jump or are defeated, you are right there back in the action ready to tackle whatever challenge was thrown at you.

Through my life, games have taught me to not be afraid of trying new things, that failure is just another step in the road to success. Games such as this one shine in that regard.

It also promotes creativity in how to tackle such challenges, based on which power up we use or how we approach a jumping puzzle.

Super Mario 3D World was originally released for the Wii U. It is a game of a time in which cameras were fixed and determined by the game as opposed to the free camera controls in games today. The game is fun and full of power ups and challenges.

But the shining star of this game is the new addition, the “second” game in this release, Bowser’s Fury.

Unlike most Mario games that have stages to select, Bowser’s fury is one big stage, it expands as you progress in the game and it has a cycle in which Bowser awakens and the environment changes, from a tranquil stroll and explore, to frantic avoiding projectiles and fire breaths!

It would be a mistake to think the player is being shorted by having just one stage, this stage is quite expansive and very fun to play. It brings excitement about what the future of Mario games might be. We hope they expand on this idea. 

Parent Score: 10/10

Mario keeps its pedigree of great family fun we have all come to know and love.

Fun Factor: 8/10

The game shines when playing the Bowser’s Fury section. Aside from that it falls short from the other recent Mario releases like Mario Odyssey. This is more of a testament to the quality of Mario games than a criticism of this game itself. It is still a great game.