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Bricks n Balls

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Bricks n Balls App Poster Image
Vague details, pay-to-play pressure makes this app a bust.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The lack of instructions can make understanding how the different game modes fit together, what your point goals are, and other game elements difficult to grasp.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Players will see ads, unless they pay $2.99 to remove them, including frequent pushes to buy a weekly $7.99 membership. Buying rubies, the app currency, also seems necessary at some point for uninterrupted play. In-app purchases can be as high as $99.99.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bricks n Balls is a puzzle game for iOS and Android devices. The brick breaking game involves a lot of ads -- banner ads appear on the screen, ads pop up between rounds, and players can easily click on something and see a suggestion to sign up for the Diamond Membership, which provides additional rubies and costs $7.99 a week. Users don't have to sign up or enter any personal information, and they won't be in contact with strangers, but it's hard to play consecutively without shelling out some cash. After you make it through a few levels, you'll start seeing messages that say you need rubies to clear lines on the board. If you don't have enough -- and it's hard to, without buying them as an in-app purchase -- the round ends, making progress a frustratingly slow process. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared, and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Players select a projected path and shoot at groups of squares in BRICKS N BALLS. Their score rises as they break bricks, and meeting a point total helps them advance levels. In addition to a fairly simple classic game, the app also features a pinball-like Gravity challenge and a version in which multiple balls are shot at once. The number on each brick indicates the amount of times a ball has to hit it for the brick to be eliminated; periodically, special items that provide extra balls and other advantages appear in games.

Is it any good?

While this game can be easy to play, the lack of information and heavy pressure to buy in-game items ruins any fun that can be had with this app. In Bricks N Balls, players are provided with a visual indication of a launched ball's potential path, which lets them consider different options before firing. Unfortunately, the brief, often unclear descriptions that pop up about bonus items -- such as the Power Up option in the Gravity game, which just returns launched balls to the starting point faster -- don't offer enough information to explain why those items are beneficial.

Rounds often keep going and new bricks pop up after you've reached the point goal. Unfortunately, the game doesn't provide any explanation about how to advance levels -- or how to play, aside from how to aim the ball. In addition, the playing experience isn't very consistent across the game modes. The basic version moves quickly, but the Gravity game feels much slower, with bricks that can take 40 taps to be cleared from the board. Adding thorough directions would be immensely helpful, but unless the level restrictions that essentially require you to eventually purchase game currency for progress are removed, it's unlikely that gamers will want to finish more than a few levels of Bricks n Balls.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time limits. What would a better use of your time be -- playing a game like Bricks n Balls, playing an app designed for learning, or doing something away from a screen?

  • Bricks n Balls doesn't provide detailed instructions, so how can players determine what they need to do? Can you apply these lessons to real life/

App details

For kids who love arcade games

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