Fire Emblem: Awakening is a 3DS turn-based strategy game, that sees two teams of warriors duking it out on the battlefield. With a small, but varied selection of troops at your child's command, it's up to them to take it in turns with their computer controlled opponent to move their team around the grid, attacking, luring, and alternately running away from their opponents in what's perhaps best thought of as a giant game of chess, just with a few more swords.
With a rather slow pace, and a lot of thinking involved, Fire Emblem isn't a game for those who're seeking quick rewards and lots of explosions, but it is a game children can lose themselves in for hours. With a strong tutorial helping them learn they way around the basics, it's surprisingly easy to pick up and play, and a game that has a lot of depth for those who're willing to explore it. With dozens of character classes, each with their own special abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, battles quickly turn into a game of cat and mouse as your child has to try to outmanoeuvre, or outsmart their opponent, trying to strike the balance between giving the enemy a good whacking, while protecting their own weaker units. Asking your child to be thinking several steps ahead at all times, as they have to predict what the other team will do next, if your kid's a fan of chess, draughts, or any other similarly strategic board game, they'll likely be right at home with Fire Emblem.
In terms of things parents should watch out for, the only real barrier here is one of text. Although the game has several difficulty levels that let you adjust the experience for younger players, there's a lot of text involved, especially when you're first learning your way around the game, so being a confident reader is a must. Certain characters, who are intended to be somewhat posh, tend to use rather long words in their sentences that may be unusual to younger readers, while others speak in somewhat broken English - although tricky sentences are few and far between. Sample sentences include "Is just, how you say, flatulence. Is that word when people say lies to make other person feel better."
Although there's plenty of combat in Fire Emblem, there's nothing for parents to be too concerned about here. Although you'll see characters hitting each other with swords, or firing arrows/magic spells at each other, there's no blood, guts or gore, and nothing in the way of realistic impacts - people simply flinch, or collapse if they're beaten. While the fact horses also collapse may upset some younger players, there's nothing that should be too extreme for most children. In terms of bad language, the game actually features its very own swear words - like "dastard", and "pegasus dung", to keep things above board. About as risque as the text ever gets is when one character says "He has stones"...
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