Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin Parent Review: Is it appropriate for kids?

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I don’t know if you saw my scored review or not but I absolutely loved Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. I tried to find some sort of fault to make it look like my review wasn’t a straight-up love letter but…I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like. So it definitely passed my test. Now to install it on the two Switch Lites that belong to my kids and see how they do.

As a reminder I have two kids. Malcolm, who is five years old and a beginner reader, and Damian, who is seven years old and has torn through every book in this house including my college textbooks.

Now, before we start, I’ll point out the obvious. The Monster Hunter games are all about hunting monsters. They can be large and scary creatures and you’re hitting them with swords and hammers. Or as it gets put in our house, this game is kind of “fighty,” so if you’re avoiding more aggressive games like I usually do, you may want to skip this But hear me out first.

Unlike most Monster Hunter titles, this game actually plays a lot closer to Pokemon. It’s a turn based battle system, with no timer, that requires the understanding of a rock/paper/scissors-like battle mechanic. One of the reasons I decided to let my kids play this is that I felt that having my kids watch a monster’s behavior so they can pick the appropriate actions was good puzzle solving. And the challenge progression is really good as well.

For example, the battle mechanic involves picking “speed”, “power” or “technical” attacks. Depending on what the monster attacking you picks, this causes the aforementioned rock/paper/scissors battle in which speed beats power, power beats technical, and technical beats speed.

In the beginning it’s really easy. Big slow powerful-looking creatures always do power attacks and little raptor-looking things always do speed. Eventually, you’ll come across things like the menacing Zamtrios (think a shark that can walk on four legs) which normally does technical attacks. But, every so often it will cover itself in ice armor and focus on speed attacks OR it will inflate like a weird balloon and focus on power attacks.

Damian dove right into the battle mechanics, getting frustrated if he’d lose but getting hyped when he figured out the pattern of the thing that beat him and returning for revenge. Malcolm got a bit more frustrated and would sometimes get to a point where they had to walk away for a bit and calm down.

The game is also very story-heavy, which I enjoyed. Peaceful communities work together for a common good, offering help and support, were something I had no qualms showing my kids. And it never gets too dire, bordering on How to Train Your Dragon in terms of villains and plot drama. And the entire time you’re joined by Navirou, a mysterious cat-like creature that is the same one that helped the protagonist of the previous game. With all the cut scenes fully voiced, I am happy to say that Navirou will by identified by your children as one thing and one thing only…Meowth.

Seriously. Navirou is Meowth if Meowth didn’t sound like he lived in Queens most of his life. Look at these antics:

Or here in this scene that I wish my children wouldn’t quote at least once an hour since it happened:

But outside the characters and the occasional light-hearted wordplay, the game itself doesn’t carry over the cartoony look which is honestly really nice to see. The world is still just as beautiful as many other Monster Hunter titles and is an absolute joy to just roam through. Here I am strolling through the landscape just to give you an idea of the large open world and the visual state of it.

Despite the world being giant, it’s near impossible for my kids to get lost because, as you can see in the video, there is not only a constant map at the bottom showing you where to go but also large big orange waypoints that lead you in the direction of the next story beat.

If I had to post worry about the game for parents it comes from two points that, surprisingly, aren’t the violence itself.

One, some of the monsters can be a bit scary. Malcolm definitely spent a night or two thinking about some of the monsters they encountered. Damian seemed cool with them so it’s dealer’s choice on these. But while they look cute when they hatch like my baby Nargacuga here:

Not sound like Adam Sandler’s recent SNL commercial for Italian Vacations but…*ahem*… The same Nargacuga that looks cute in it’s nest will be the same Nargacuga that viciously assaults other monsters in the night with glowing red eyes. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

So, you know, viewer discretion is advised.

The second thing is the remarkably mixed message.

Monster Hunter Stories world is based off secluded villages that have learned how to coexist with Monsters having them as “Monstie” buddies they can rid around on and train. It’s very similar to the secluded village in How to Train Your Dragon. But now imagine if in How to Train Your Dragon, they would ride on these dragons and use their dragons to kill other dragons using the parts of those dragons to build weapons and armor that kind of look like the dead dragons. You get me?

It’s a statement towards respecting life…up until a blacksmith tells you that you need to gather up like 13 pieces of a specific species. Obviously, the game doesn’t show you removing the bits or the bits when they’ve been removed or, what I can only image, is the horrific pile of waste, but it is definitely a mixed message that can be summed up with a simple screenshot.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
Capcom /

She says over a massive defeated shark beast.

All in all, I think the game is wonderful. The story never gets too dire, it moves at a casual pace, and it’s easy enough to pick up and learn as long as your child has a beginner’s grasp on reading. Some of the monsters can be a little scary at times but beyond that the game tries to keep it really light and plays a lot like Pokemon.

Next. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin works with older Monster Hunter amiibo too. dark

Luckily there is a demo on the EShop if you or your kids want to try it first but I think this is going to be one of those where if you think your kid can handle the monster design, this is an absolute delight to play and watch your kids play.