A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
The introductory information is fairly sparse, but kids should be able to figure out how to play.
Violence & Scariness
Weapons and fighting are part of the experience, and characters die, but no blood is shown.
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Products & Purchases
Ads are shown frequently, and kids see frequent plugs to buy things like a paid version without promo videos.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Timberman - The Big Adventure is an action game for iOS devices. Kids fight random characters to the death -- which seems fairly violent, considering they've just met. But the fighting and demise that other characters experience isn't gory; characters essentially just collapse, even when pelted with an ax that boomerangs back and hits them twice. Despite a somewhat rocky beginning, even without very detailed instructions, kids will probably be able to pick up the gameplay basics, although they may need to practice some of the jumping and other moves to become proficient at them. Kids can try more than once to beat levels, but that ability comes at a price. After every level they can't complete, they'll be taken to a page offering them a $4.99 paid ad-free version of the app. To continue, they have to either buy that or click on a button indicating they agree to watch ads to keep playing -- and will instantly be shown one. The ads are generally fairly lengthy and require kids to wait for them to cycle through two screens before they can click out of them. There are some positive themes in the game, though. The main character, for instance, is rewarded for freeing animals he comes across that are in cages.
Is It Any Good?
The retro-pixel look is fun, and the main character has a larger arsenal of moves than in some action games, but the lack of direction detracts from the experience. The story behind Timberman - The Big Adventure could be fleshed out more. Most of the story seems to be listed in the game's app store description -- and learning to play isn't as straightforward as it could be. Instead of a traditional tutorial, information on how to perform various actions periodically appears onscreen when kids start to play. But the small font makes them easy to miss. Getting used to all of the moves available can also take time. Kids aren't given much upfront direction about what their immediate goal is, so they may just end up wandering around the first level, trying to figure out how to complete it. That portion doesn't throw too many challenges at kids, but the action quickly amps up in subsequent levels, with surfaces that contain bright pink bushy plants that will zaps kids' lives if they touch them too often, ending the game.
The main character can perform a decent amount of moves, including a high jump, crawling when crouching close to the ground, and floating slowly to downward. After awhile, kids will likely stumble on some uses for those skills. They might chop down a tree that's in the way and find it creates a bridge when it falls, or discover they can punch their way through a wall to enter a new area. They'll also come across brief arcade-like games as they play, which involve actions like chopping down a series of tree branches. While the fights kids get in aren't overly graphic, they increase in frequency as kids advance in the game. Parents may not be crazy about that aspect -- and kids might not like being asked after every level to agree to watch an ad to continue. But without shelling out roughly $5 to circumvent that to keep playing Timberman - The Big Adventure, they'll have to sit through a lot of sales-related pauses.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.