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Parents need to know that “Yoshi’s Crafted World” is a run and jump adventure for the Nintendo Switch with an arts and crafts theme and a cartoonish smiling dinosaur serving as hero. Players work through dozens of short levels attempting to find lost gems to restore an artifact that can make people happy by realizing their dreams. Yoshi runs up against standard-issue Nintendo bad guys — including shy guys, koopa troopas, and Baby Bowser — along the way. He can jump on and flatten these enemies or suck them up with his long tongue and then pop them out as eggs. A multiplayer mode allows a pair of players to control individual Yoshis and cooperate as they work through the game together. It’s designed to be accessible for younger players, with straightforward objectives and puzzles, plus an easy difficulty setting that should let even inexperienced kids play through the campaign without too much trouble or confusion.

Parents need to know that “Devil May Cry 5” is an action adventure game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. This is the latest installment of a popular franchise, and presents three anti-heroes as they fight demons both in the world and in a hellish landscape. Characters use swords, guns, magic, and other abilities to destroy creatures, who spray blood when hit. There are also impaled bodies, remains of people, and fountains of blood in cutscenes, as well as characters that are covered in blood as they move through some portals. There’s lots of swearing throughout the game, with “s--t,” “f--k,” and other words frequently stated in dialogue. Female characters are shown wearing revealing clothing, as well as partially nude and covered by slime; their buttocks can be seen. One character frequently smokes a cigarette, although the other characters disapprove, and a disclaimer states that the game doesn’t promote smoking or cigarettes. The game has multiple difficulty levels, and while players can button mash their way through some fights, it requires practice to learn and master the skills and fighting styles of each character in battle. That can frustrate some players, especially if they can’t master the combos and gameplay necessary to earn the top rank in battle, which provides bonus points.

Parents need to know that “The Lego Movie 2 Videogame” is an open-world style action/adventure game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. The game is based on the feature film of the same name, with players loosely following the events of the movie. Themes of friendship, teamwork, and helping others take center stage with players helping out characters by completing requests and missions. Players use a variety of special tools to scan, paint, and build Lego items, using their “Master Builder” skills to overcome obstacles. It’s a drastic change from previous Lego games and a more challenging and creative experience. There’s a fair amount of cartoonish violence and destruction, but nothing extreme or graphic. Instead, defeated enemies and destroyed objects simply break apart into Lego bits before vanishing from the screen.

Next up on the list of wacky social apps that teens totally get but leave parents scratching their heads: Discord — Chat for Gamers. Compared with the bright and friendly feeling of kid faves like Snapchat and Instagram, Discord mixes low-key design with high-tech features. Initially created for gamers to talk while they’re playing, Discord has morphed into a place for anyone to explore their interests in subject-specific groups. Like other social networks, Discord can be iffy or safe. But, because it allows any user to create both public and private groups, the risks for kids can be tiny or huge, depending on how they use it.

Parents need to know that “Anthem” is a sci-fi based online action role-playing game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. Players pilot flying exosuits and team up to complete a variety of mission-based quests, earning reputation while helping to rebuild their outpost community after a major cataclysm. The game features a heavy focus on teamwork, encouraging players to team as a squad with friends or with strangers in online matchmaking. Violence is standard fare here, but even with all the explosions, fighting, shooting, etc. going on, there’s very little blood and no gore shown. The game does feature some profanity in the dialogue, as well as references to and visuals of characters drinking and smoking. Parents should also be aware that, due to the game’s online nature and matchmaking with strangers, there’s a risk of kids being exposed to offensive language and conversations in voice chat.

Parents need to know that “Tetris 99” is a downloadable online game for the Nintendo Switch in which 99 randomly matched players compete to be the last player standing. Players attempt to fit falling blocks into partially completed lines at the bottom of the screen as fast as they can in order to clear lines from the board. Play fosters a spirit of friendly competition among opponents while satisfying the natural human urge to make order out of disorder. There’s no violence, sexuality, or strong language, and players can’t interact with one another. While this game is free for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, it could further encourage non-subscribers to pay for Nintendo’s online service in order to gain access.

Parents need to know that “Kingdom Hearts III” is an action-based role-playing game for the PS4 and Xbox One. The game has a strong focus on storytelling and an exceptional amount of commercialism. The combat is cartoonish and relatively mild, with swords in the shape of keys, and fantastical enemies that simply disappear when defeated. It also features powerful magical attacks that involve Disney theme park-style attractions, including roller coasters and swinging pirate boats. Between battles, players watch lengthy, non-interactive cut scenes where the heroes discuss varied issues ranging from what to do next in their struggle against an evil organization to issues about identity and self-worth. The main companions are an undeniably good and altruistic bunch who risk everything to help their friends. But this game is also essentially a commercial for all things Disney, with dozens of familiar characters and themed worlds designed to appeal to kids who love movies like “Toy Story,” “Hercules,” “Frozen,” and “Ratatouille.”

Thumper: Pocket EditionDrool LLC Genre: GamesActionMusicRelease Date: 2018-01-24© © Drool LLC 2013 - 2018 / THUMPER® and logo are registered trademarks of Drool LLC

GorogoaAnnapurna Interactive Genre: GamesPuzzleFamilyRelease Date: 2017-12-14© © 2017 Buried Signal, LLC. Published by Annapurna Interactive under exclusive license. All rights reserved.

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