Video Game & Entertainment News

Parents need to know that “Mega Man 11” is a side-scrolling action game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and is the latest installment in the long running franchise. It stars a humanoid robot who fights enemy robots using a variety of weapons, ranging from an energy-blasting arm cannon to a gun that fires pink bouncy balls. The art style is cartoonish, and there’s nothing more graphic than robots that explode in flashes of light. Parents should be aware that the “Mega Man” games are known for their difficulty, and this one is no different, though there is an “easy” skill level that offers aids such as infinite lives, which should help kids avoid frustration.

Parents need to know that “Super Mario Party” is a party game for one to four players, available on the Nintendo Switch. Players compete with and against each other in a variety of short mini-games in both offline and online play. The mini-games are designed to be simple to pick up and play by people of any age and skill level. The focus is on competition, but in a fun and entertaining way that doesn’t push winning so much as simply enjoying the fun with friends. There’s some minor violence in a handful of the mini-games, though it’s cartoonish and slapstick in nature. The game also features support for Nintendo’s amiibo figures, which can unlock additional content, such as stickers and music.

Parents need to know that “Forza Horizon 4” is a racing game exclusively for the Xbox One and Windows PCs. The gameplay focuses on players driving fast and recklessly on closed street tracks, commuter roads, and dirt paths. It has no nudity, use of drugs or alcohol, or cursing, though communication between players isn’t monitored. While there are car crashes, the drivers are never shown being injured or killed. The game also features numerous car brands, and may spark a life-long love of automobiles. This is the fourth in a bi-annual series, and eleventh in the “Forza” series overall.

Parents need to know that “Marvel’s Spider-Man” is a superhero themed action/adventure game available exclusively on the PlayStation 4. Players take on the role of the popular Marvel superhero, swinging through the streets of New York in his crime-fighting quest to keep the people safe from both generic crooks and fantastically powered supervillains. There’s a lot of comic book style action, with players using a variety of abilities to incapacitate enemies that attack using everything from fists and guns to flashy superpowers of their own. There’s some blood shown on occasion, as well as some background scenes of more intense violence, but nothing overly explicit. The game does contain some occasional profanity in the dialogue, including “s--t,” “ass,” and “damn,” and there’s a substantial story arc dealing with the rise of a new, illicit narcotic hitting the streets.

Players need to know that “Madden NFL 19”is the latest installment of the popular football franchise for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Gamers can expect to see some punishing hits during gameplay and some occasional injuries during some games, which is just part of the sport. While players grab the affected portion of their body and roll around on the ground, no blood or gore is shown. Gamers can also expect to see lots of corporate branding and logos from stadiums and uniforms to inserted commercials for products like Gatorade and Snickers in its broadcast presentation. While the game has multiple difficulty levels and is designed to be accessible to gamers with varying levels of experience with Madden, the updated control scheme for ball carriers could frustrate some gamers for a while until they’ve put in a lot of practice with these new moves. Finally, unmoderated multiplayer could potentially expose players to inappropriate content.

Parents should know that “Octopath Traveler” is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) for the Nintendo Switch that’s reminiscent of classic RPGs from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Players have the option to help people in need or ignore their pleas; the rewards of helping people out reinforce a moral ideal that assisting people is a positive virtue, although conflict resolution is handled only through combat. The visuals include small, pixelated characters that fight against enemies and interact with hundreds of characters in the game’s virtual world. Fighting is a large part of gameplay and is handled in a turn-based fashion in which characters can use swords and cast magic spells like fireballs to destroy enemies. There’s some blood, but it’s not realistic, and the small, unrealistic visuals affect the impact of the violence. There’s a bit of flirting in the dialogue between some characters, plus phrases like “damn it all to hell,” and characters are seen drinking beer or mead in taverns.

Parents need to know that “WarioWare Gold” is the latest collection of mini-games for the Nintendo 3DS. Players try their best to accomplish tasks in abbreviated game sequences which take three seconds or less to succeed or fail — these tasks are designed to test a gamer’s reflexes and patience. Gameplay also speeds up, further challenging their skills. There’s comic mischief of pushing people over, breaking blocks, shooting aliens, and more, but the cartoonish, stylized imagery and fast pace of each game limits the impact of violence. Players will note that some mini-games are based off of classic Nintendo franchises, like “Super Mario Bros.,” “The Legend of Zelda,” “Duck Hunt,” and others. The game also supports amiibo figures, which are sold separately. Otherwise, there’s no inappropriate content.

For five days in June, thousands of people descend on the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio. Their goal: to play games and hang out…

Parents need to know that “Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker” is a puzzle adventure game for the Nintendo WiiU and Switch. It features simple controls and a very easy learning curve for players of all ages. There’s no inappropriate content, although it has some light violence, such as throwing turnips at creatures, who disappear in a puff of smoke when hit. Some levels are based on older Mario titles and could possibly raise interest in purchasing these games.

Parents need to know that Mario Tennis Aces is a tennis simulation game that sends Mario on an adventure around an island where he must complete tennis-themed challenges. There’s no violence or scariness beyond the occasional body shot that makes characters wince with a sting. The overall vibe is one of friendly competitive play and — if playing with friends locally or online — a sense of cooperation and teamwork. Each character emotes in his or her own way, with traditional heroes like Mario and Peach cheering and frowning in appropriate situations while villains like Bowser and Wario express anger and gloat with victory. Parents should note, too, that while much of the game isn’t terribly challenging, there are sections — especially puzzle challenges and boss fights — that can be frustrating, and could force players to search online for strategies and solutions.