A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brawl Stars is a free-to-play multiplayer action arena game available for download on iOS and Android devices. Players choose from a selection of unique “Brawlers” and compete in multiplayer battles using a variety of weapons and abilities. Violence is constant, though its smaller scale and over-the-top cartoonish style reduces some of its impact. There’s also no blood or gore shown, though damage is reflected through onscreen effects. There are microtransactions in the game which encourage players to spend real world money for in-game items. Although not required to make progress, there's a strong incentive to buy items from the in-game market in order to unlock new brawlers and to progress faster, avoiding the long grind it would otherwise take.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Get ready to brawl, because in BRAWL STARS, players take part in multiplayer mayhem, battling it out in arena combat where the action is fast and frantic. Choose from a roster of over twenty fighters, and team up or go solo over a series of different game types ranging from being the first team to collect gems, pulling off an epic heist, scoring goals in some Brawl Ball, or being the last person standing in a Showdown survival. You’ll need to use your brains as well as your reflexes to survive, using walls for cover and hiding in the grass to stage an ambush. Team up, fight smart, and win to keep earning your place on the Trophy Road.
Is it any good?
There’s been a big surge in mobile online shooters lately, thanks to games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but sluggish controls and unlocks makes this shooter quite average. The latest spin in the mobile multiplayer arena shooter genre is Brawl Stars. One way Brawl Stars stands out from the competition is thanks to its variety of gameplay options. The game features a handful of unique game types for players to participate in, whether it’s the small-scale battle royale style Showdown, the objective based Heist, or any of the game's rotation of holiday themed events. Add to this the game's robust roster of characters, and you'd think there's more than enough to keep players' interest.
Unfortunately, just because the content is there, that doesn’t mean players can access it. Many options are locked until players reach a certain trophy level in the game. Other matches require tickets to join, which usually means spending cash on resources, characters, or other such bundles. Sure, you can grind your way through some of the content, but it can start to take a toll on your patience fairly quickly. This grind wouldn't be so bad except that the game’s controls, while simple, aren't all that responsive. Sometimes it feels like the sluggish responsiveness is an even bigger threat than your online opponents. The only upside is that most players are likely dealing with the same problem, giving an even playing field to everyone in the match … but not necessarily in a good way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Brawl Stars affected by the cartoonish visuals in the app? How can violence in games impact younger gamers? Can other forms of media, such as cartoons, have a similar effect on kids?
What are some of the ways that game publishers encourage players to spend money in their games? What are some positive incentives and what are some of the negative incentives? How much is too much to spend in an otherwise “free” game?
- Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: June 15, 2017
- Category: Action Games
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- Size: 185.60 MB
- Publisher: Supercell
- Version: 15.168
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or higher; Android 4.3 and up
- Last updated: April 8, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.