[Click here to watch the Endless Ocean Trailer]
[Click here to watch the Endless Ocean: Blue World Trailer]
Titles: Endless Ocean and Endless Ocean: Blue World
Genre: Educational Adventure Simulation
Rating: E (Everyone) for Endless Ocean and E10+ (Everyone 10+) for Endless Ocean: Blue World
Endless Ocean is a Japanese game (known in Japan as Forever Blue) in which you play as a customizable scuba diver who has been newly recruited to discover the mystery of the “Ancient Mother” in Manoa Lai, a local ocean region. You can follow the main story-line or you can explore, filling up the map of Manoa Lai as you venture through more and more of it, including reefs, underwater ruins, sunken ships, and even an abyss. You are able to find, name, and train dolphin partners who will swim with you wherever you go, take photos of marine wildlife (for fun or on assignments), guide novice scuba divers who wish to see various parts of Manoa Lai, and eventually customize an aquarium tank that can hold any of the aquatic species you have already discovered. An encyclopedia on board the ship you live in keeps track of which creatures you have identified and which you have yet to discover.
Endless Ocean: Blue World (known in Japan as Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep), the more advanced sequel to Endless Ocean, allows you to venture across the world, from tropical atolls to rainforest rivers to arctic waters. Like the first game, you are able to take on animal partners, take photos, maintain an aquarium, track your discoveries in an encyclopedia, and so forth. What’s better is that there are more characters, a stronger story-line, more diverse locations, more tools, more realistic scenarios (including danger), and little connection to the first game, which makes anyone able to play the second with no knowledge of the first. It still has a mystical element to it, just as the first game did, but is otherwise better all around. If you want to buy one of these games for your child, buy the second.
Both games have soothing soundtracks and very educational material. All of the hundreds of sea animals (common or uncommon) you will encounter are real, and you are provided with accessible information on each, should you grow curious. As you discover more animals you are given more information about them, their habits, their environment… all knowledge that is given to you while you’re having fun. These games are educational games with an adventure appeal that makes them fun to play, something that isn’t easy to achieve.
Skills Required and Recommended:
- Basic understanding of a motion controller (specifically, a Wiimote) – REQUIRED
- Ability to navigate a menu and save – REQUIRED
- Ability to read – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
- Basic problem-solving abilities – RECOMMENDED
Besides the ability to use complex controls (movement, menu navigation, etc.), these games are not particularly difficult. As long as you know how a Wii remote works (with its use of motion controls) and can follow instructions (given to you by the other characters), you shouldn’t have much trouble playing the games. There are no levels, bosses, or anything else found in most adventure games, and you have the freedom to explore (with more and more freedom given as you progress through the story).
Level of Violence:
There is no violence in the first game – even sharks usually leave you alone (though some “aggressive” sharks will whip their tails at you). In the second game, danger is added. Sharks and other aggressive sea creatures will attempt to bite you if you get too close, but you are given a tool called a “pulsar,” which emits an electric shock designed to heal sick animals or calm aggressive animals. There is also some fighting between sea creatures (ex. a giant squid and a sperm whale fight with one another in the deep at one point). There is no blood though, and you do not see sea creatures ripping apart and eating other sea creatures.
Use of Language:
There is no bad language in this game.
Presence of a Story:
Both games have story-lines that progress when you choose to progress them. The second game has a slightly more interesting story-line that involves more characters, places, and an even more mystical objective. You are not bound to the story, however, and can choose to explore or do other things rather than embark on your next quest (though you cannot do much at the beginning of both games without progressing the story a bit).
Presence of a Message:
There are few suggestive themes in either game, but they do try to raise awareness and appreciation of the ocean and marine life. With the mystical subjects of both games, you might also find messages of believing in the unexplained and having the courage to follow your dreams and desires. The messages these games offer are harmless, even positive.
While this is not an action-packed thrill ride of an adventure game, it has enough features (the freedom to explore, tame and train dolphins, take pictures, manage an aquarium, etc.) to keep a child absorbed, even after they’ve finished the story-line of either game.
Age Range Recommendation:
Anyone old enough to use a Wii controller can play the first game, even if they need some help reading or understanding the next objective, and mostly anyone can play the second game as long as they will not be frightened by charging sharks. The ocean itself may also intimidate some children (I know I was afraid of swimming into deep ocean, particularly the abyss of the first game, but that abyss later became my favorite place). Otherwise these are both pretty harmless games, and inspire curiosity and wonder in their players, who come out knowing a quite a bit about the ocean and its inhabitants.
The cost of Endless Ocean varies widely depending on where you’re attempting to buy it from (a store, an online store, Amazon, etc.) and whether or not it is used or new. Sometimes it is priced at $10, other times it is priced at $30. You will have to search multiple places and compare prices. Endless Ocean: Blue World generally costs $20 to $30.