Builder Buddies Online VR RPG

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Builder Buddies Online VR RPG App Poster Image
Open-ended creation boosts chat over building.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

While the mechanics aren't complex, there's no in-game tutorial or help.

Violence
Sex

Chat may include some flirtatious language.

Language

Chat is filtered, but kids can creatively bypass. Some areas may be moderated, but there's no reporting system or consistent monitoring.

Consumerism

Kids can purchase without adult supervision. Most building blocks can be found only in the in-game shop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Builder Buddies Online VR RPG is more like a chat portal than a game, but does include some light Minecraft-style play. Players use open chats in each of the worlds, which may be moderated, depending on the "owner" of the space. Chats are filtered, but kids can creatively make their intent known. While reviewing, there was plenty of mean behavior in the chats -- and there is no way to report another player. Players can mine for some of the in-game building blocks, but the rest, along with pets, mounts, clothes, and more, are available for purchase in the shop with in-game gold. Gold can be slow to build up, so kids may ask to purchase it with real money, especially if they want to purchase land of their own. Gold costs range from $4.99 for 1,000 pieces (the cost to build a town) to $99.99 for 28,000 pieces. There are also gems available for purchase. Although the title suggests that this is a VR game, VR isn't required. It's just a 3D environment. 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?

BUILDER BUDDIES ONLINE VR RPG is a massive world where kids can mine, build, and chat. While it looks like Minecraft, its features are limited. Kids mine for material blocks by touching them for a period of time. The more valuable the material, the longer the time (gold takes about 20 seconds for one piece). They can then use these blocks to build with. There is no crafting, farming, or fighting. Some materials are available only from the store (requiring gold), while others are available through mining and purchase. Gold is harder to come by, especially in reasonable quantities, but kids can get 20 free gold pieces each hour by pressing a button. Kids who save up 1,000 gold pieces can purchase their own "towns." These towns are regions of the map that are owned and moderated by different people. Other players can't alter buildings or the environments, but they can go to chat or look around. As in the real world, these towns are all connected (along with the "wilderness," or unowned areas), and players can walk through towns and wilderness without exiting or loading. 

Is it any good?

Kids who are looking for a Minecraft alternative will want to look elsewhere, as this is really best for chatting with friends. The role-playing game label in Builder Buddies Online VR RPG is a stretch. While you can customize your avatar and can certainly act out scenarios, there's no fighting, no leveling up, no skills, and no items to create. In fact, there's just not a lot to do. Each world that you visit seems largely inhabited by people hopping up stacks of blocks. Collecting blocks one by one is tedious -- seriously, 20 seconds for one piece of gold? -- but saving gold to buy them isn't much better. If you're already hanging out with friends, this may not matter, and kids with the patience (or cash) to gather lots of blocks can have fun building without worrying about destruction. The moderation is also questionable. There are supposedly global moderators, but they didn't make much of an appearance during our review. And local moderators seemed more intent on wielding their power -- and excluding others -- than on creating a more positive atmosphere. With no way to report other players, you're at the mercy of moderation. The game is free, so curious families can easily check it out for themselves, but there are likely more engaging options out there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about in-game chat in Builder Buddies Online VR RPG. What types of things are OK to post? What things are against your family's rules?

  • How do you like this game as opposed to other block-style building games? If you have limited screen time, would you choose this game over others?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try
  • Release date: July 13, 2020
  • Category: Role-Playing Games
  • Size: 16.20 MB
  • Publisher: Xavier Robledo
  • Version: 2.3.21
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
  • Last updated: September 3, 2020

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