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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Battle Bands is a cooperative deck-building strategy game available for download on Windows PCs. The game has you control a rock band touring a battle of the bands circuit, where each musician uses a deck of cards that represents their contributions to the song. You can take your band on the road in a randomized co-op campaign or participate in online 64-band tournaments. The game mechanics will be familiar to fans of the genre, but advanced strategies may be hard for younger players to figure out on their own. There's nothing inappropriate about the game content, although players can spend real money on cosmetic items for their musicians.
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What’s It About?
In BATTLE BANDS, you manipulate your deck with the power of music. After creating your musician and selecting their instrument (one of guitar, bass, drums or keyboard), you can take off in your van for a battle of the bands co-op campaign in Riff City or jump into regularly scheduled online tournaments. In either case, you will be able to add, upgrade and remove cards from your deck between matches to customize your playing style. If you prefer to play solo, your other bandmates will be controlled by AI that you can guide with special commands. What kind of band will you make?
Is It Any Good?
Roguelike deckbuilders are no longer a new sensation, but the addition of cooperative elements helps this strategy title stand out from its peers. The core mechanics of Battle Bands draw inspiration from the card-battling systems of Slay the Spire, but the switch from controlling a single character to manipulating a band of four musicians provides an interesting new angle. The game naturally lends itself to multiplayer in a genre that tends to be solo experiences. You can jump into a randomly generated co-op tour mode to compete against NPC (non-player character) bands, or jam out versus other players in scheduled online tournaments. If you can't form a full group of four human players, AI handles the other musicians. Players make all of the decisions regarding the construction of the AI's decks, and can give basic instructions during the fights, but most gameplay portions will require reacting to and playing around the AI's choices. This can lead to moments of frustration when your bandmates play cards with timing that doesn't work with your plans.
Once you adjust to working with the AI, the strategic elements in the battle-of-the-bands fights shine. Every fight starts with a target number of "hype points" that need to be reached to win the competition, and bands take turns assembling songs to generate hype points or subtract from the other band's hype total through Song Section and Performance cards. Song Sections allow bands to play Performance cards on top of them, and each Performance and completed Song Section accumulates hype, attacks the other bands resources, or protects your own. Between performances, musicians can get, upgrade, or remove cards from the decks and and buy items that provide bonuses for the whole band. Rival bands in the tour mode can be very challenging, and require understanding how to use all of these elements to succeed. The random strategic elements may confuse younger players when things get more complicated. But more experienced players are likely to have a great time with this deep, unique musical deckbuilder.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about customizing your characters. Do options for different skin tones and hair styles make you feel represented?
Did the music played in the game interest you? Did seeing others play an instrument make you want to play one yourself?
- Platform: Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($17.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Aerie Digital
- Release date: March 17, 2022
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: July 2, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Slay the Spire
Card game/adventure hybrid brings the best of both worlds.
Magic the Gathering: Arena
Collectible card action appeals to beginners and vets alike.
Clever card game spin-off will test strategy, tactics.
For kids who love strategy
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