I don't know if it's nostalgia or an overwhelming desire to revert back to 11-year-old Cj, free of all concerns outside of "What's for dinner?" and "When can I play Mario Brothers?", but Brave: A Warrior's Tale took me back. My first thought after playing Brave for twenty minutes, was that it was a much simpler Mario 64, only with cartoony Native American characters, weaponry, and folklore.
Before you Nintendosians cry "Blasphemy!", remember when I say that Brave: A Warrior's Tale is a much simpler game, with smaller levels and easier tasks to complete. It's a kids game, which is why it has the giant Family Game sticker on the package. That said, it's a game for really young kids, that know well enough how to use a Wii or Xbox 360 controller, whose parents want to give them something a little less edgy than endless zombie killing action or carjacking shenanigans.
In this game, you choose to be a male or female named Courage, who must run to the village to listen to tales woven by a wise elder chieftain...or is he a shaman? It doesn't matter. The guy with a huge Native American feather headdress tells a tale of a young warrior, named -- surprise -- Brave, who long ago had to defeat theWendigo, which is an odd choice given the game's family rating. Don't let your 8-year-old look up Wendigo on Wikipedia, or Google Image Search, by the way.
Luckily, the tribal elder chieftain-shaman doesn't dwell much on Skin Walkers and gaunt, cannibalistic Wendigo, and soon you're controlling Brave, completing harmless tasks like whacking predatory bumblebees and crow with a simple stick. Don't worry, you won't hear your kids cry because a ravenous bird just pecked their (Brave's) eyes and ocular nerves out; Brave has enough health to withstand numerous attacks, and healing is as simple as stick-spanking nearby bushes and shrubs until they yield precious shamanicmana . To add the concept of power-ups to the game, Brave has shamanic sight, making it easy to spot glowing animals that, when captured, imbue Brave with various powers, like mimicking the cry of birds, swimming like a fish, and scurrying up 90-degrees of tree trunk like a squirrel. Eventually Brave can soar on the back of a giant eagle, which got a "Whoa!" comment from my 10-year-old son, Logan.
Also of note: Brave can use tomahawks and a bow and arrow for weapons, much to Logan's delight. In fact, he gives Brave: A Warrior's Tale a 9.5 out of 10, which is surprising, since he also enjoys incinerating enemies and punching female journalists in Mass Effect. I'm raising a charmer, to be sure. I personally can't tolerate playing Brave for more than the aforementioned twenty minutes, but the game is not for jaded, cynical adults like me. There will be times when kids will have a hard time with some of the tasks later in the game, like climbing ice walls and fighting wolves, which took my kids anywhere from a couple to "like twenty" tries, but they all still loved the game. You wouldn't think Brave has a lot of replay value, but I've found it in my Xbox 360 a few times since my kids completed the game. Brave: A Warrior's Tale is a true family game, best suited for children ten and under.