Parents' Guide to

Blackmoor 2

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Energetic fantasy action tale limited only by poor controls.

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Dungeon crawler and platforming fans are bound to enjoy this app's colorful characters, fun backgrounds, catchy soundtrack, and wry sense of humor, but they'll hate its touchscreen controls. Few apps have done virtual thumbsticks well, and, sadly, Blackmoor 2 isn't one of them. Action games are a shoe-in for high-tension levels, and stress makes your fingers slide all over the screen and, inevitably, off the controls. Precision is more or less impossible here, and that's bad when your characters have a range of cool Street Fighter-like attacks that require it. Platforming too requires accuracy and split-second timing, neither of which come easy with touchscreen controls. The result: artificially elevated difficulty and lots of built-in frustration. Still, there's much fun to be had here if your fingers can take the strain.

As mentioned, bosses are a hoot, and when special attacks work, they're satisfyingly powerful. Enemies are interesting and varied enough to make swapping out characters and gear worthwhile, and rewards are plentiful. For the most chaotic fun, though, you have to play online co-op mode. In this mode, you can drop in and out of ongoing games, taking on challenging levels and bosses and working with one to three other players to defeat them. If a competitive challenge is more what you're after, player vs. player (PvP) mode lets you travel around a map facing a gauntlet of AI opponents -- or, if you're brave enough, actual online players. For more low-key play, single-player Dungeon mode emphasizes platforming and puzzle-solving. With all this to choose from, Blackmoor 2 has a lot to enjoy. And though its app store rating is 12+, its bloodless, comic combat means you can feel good about letting even younger kids go dungeon-crawling.

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