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Parents need to know that “Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled” is a cartoony racing game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Players use missiles, bombs, and boxes of TNT to take out the competition, resulting in explosions, crashes, and, in some instances, characters being lit on fire. But all of this is done with a silly, cartoony look and feel. There’s also some juvenile humor: A character picks his nose and eats it, and seagulls use some rocks as a bathroom. Otherwise, there’s no sex, cursing, or references to drugs and alcohol, save for what you might hear if you play online, where communication isn’t monitored.
Parents need to know that “Super Mario Maker 2” is a game about making games exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. It provides players with tools and tutorials to create, edit, and share their own side-scrolling “Super Mario” levels. Players will be part of a moderated community of game makers encouraged to support and provide positive criticism on each other’s work through a system of likes and text comments. The cartoon violence is limited to what players encounter in most side-scrolling “Mario” games, with player characters hopping on goombas and koopa troopers, kicking shells off the screen, throwing fireballs at enemies, getting poked by spikes, and being burned by flames. Keep in mind that the difficulty is largely unpredictable, with both Nintendo-designed and player created levels ranging from short and very easy to longer and extremely challenging. Note, too, that a Nintendo Online membership is required to access online features.
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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 “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.