Battle Nations App Poster Image

Battle Nations

In-app pushiness mars otherwise fun strategy game.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to test hypotheses and strategy as they battle enemy troops. They can also learn about allocation in determining whether to build additional units or stockpile their limited resources for a bigger weapon. Kids will learn about the importance of surveying the situation before acting. While it might be tempting to take out a weak enemy unit, combining resources to destroy a larger one might ultimately do more good. The game also teaches patience, since acting rashly often means a quick end. Battle Nations isn't an educational game, but its strategic elements could carry a real-life lesson or two. 

Ease of play

The game gently guides players through the sometimes confusing world of strategy games. The pacing might be frustrating for pros of the genre, but newcomers will appreciate the hand holding.

Violence

Battles are regular occurrences, but are not bloody. While soldiers fire a variety of weapons at each other, including automatic weapons, tanks, and flamethrowers, the battles are seen from a top-down perspective -- and soldiers disappear when they're killed. 

Sex

Characters occasionally pine after a female character in the game. 

Language

There's an occasional use of words like "damn" and "hell."

Consumerism

Players can purchase "nanopods," which speed construction and solider training considerably via in-app purchase, with prices ranging from $1 to $50. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Your top lieutenant in the game is regularly inebriated or hung over. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Battle Nations is a war-themed strategy game that has a heavy story component. The game features violence that is a bit more graphic than some strategy titles (for instance, one soldier, armed with a flamethrower, hoses down opposing forces with a flood of fire), but there's no blood or sounds of suffering -- and dead soldiers simply disappear. There's mild offensive language and a multiplayer mode where children can exchange notes with friends as well. The game markets in-app purchases fairly aggressively. While no building or action specifically requires nanopods, not using them can mean waiting several minutes or hours for the action to be completed, rather than seconds. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

Parents say

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What's it about?

Players will face off against enemies by selecting a unit, whose range is shown on screen, then selecting a target by touching it. Enemies and soldiers have hit points, which are reduced when they are attacked. When those points hit zero, they disappear/die. The game also has players build a base through a menu system and gather resources to continue construction, all done through a series of screen touches and menu selection.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

After playing BATTLE NATIONS for a few minutes, you'll quickly wish this wasn't a free app. The game is fun, even with its hit-and-miss humor and extended narrative, but if you choose not to buy "nanopods" via in-app purchase (which can run up to $50), you'll quickly get frustrated by how long it takes to get things done. It's a frustrating financial play that comes at the expense of the game's fun factor -- and could have been avoided with a free and paid version of the app.

That's a shame, since the game itself is put together well. Resource gathering is well-done and the battles are well-designed. Even the characters are fairly engaging (for the most part). And the inclusion of a multiplayer mode gives the game extra life once you grow tired of (or finish) the single player campaign. 

Families can talk about...

  • Play board games like Stratego or chess to give kids a chance to exercise strategic thinking.

  • Help kids practice resource allocation in real life. Encourage them to be fiscally responsible and thoughtful when budgeting money they receive as gifts, allowance, or from working.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, strategy
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:October 10, 2012
Category:Simulation Games
Size:174.00 MB
Publisher:Z2Live, Inc
Version:2.3
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Battle Nations was written by

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Kid, 11 years old July 9, 2012

Good for 9+ kids

Battle Nations is fun war strategy game for older kids above 9 But, there is a little bit of bad words, which isn't for younger kids I have the game, it is really hard to level up and stuff, and it's kind of frustrating too. There is of course shooting since its a war game but, there is no blood effects. This game doesn't really teach you anything, it's only for entertainment. I think it is a very fun game.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old September 7, 2014

I agree with the common sense media review here.

However, I believe it is also perfectly appropriate for ages 10 and up.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence