A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
A tutorial describes the various aspects of the game -- but it's a lot to absorb.
Violence & Scariness
Some cards involve different types of attacks with weapons, although there's no visual component -- kids just read a description.
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Products & Purchases
A limited number of gameplay-enhancing purchases are offered discreetly.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The game is set in taverns, but drinking isn't a focus.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Card Crawl Adventure's is a card game for iOS and Android devices. Gameplay elements are explained in written descriptions during a tutorial, and kids get to test some out before jumping into their first real game. But there are a lot of aspects involved in playing, so the information can feel a little overwhelming, and learning to play may take some time. Kids use cards to attack monsters, which feature weapons like a dagger. If they click on the card, they'll see text that says it causes physical damage, but no real violence or gore is shown or described. The game's set in a series of taverns that kids play in as they advance. They may see a character holding what appears to be a mug of beer, but drinking isn't encouraged or really discussed much. The app offers a few purchases -- including the ability to unlock a full version of the game for $3.99 and items like a talisman that provides extra strength and health for $0.99. Kids won't get pressured to buy anything, though. It's actually easy to miss the information about the items that are sold.
Is It Any Good?
The other card games this developer has released are fairly straightforward -- this one, though, is more complex, and kids may find learning to play it frustrating. Getting to a point where players understand the basic Card Crawl Adventure rules could be a lengthy process. The cards invoke different actions, such as dealing three sword strikes to the next monster card you connect it to, or refueling your strength. Some actions occur right away, and others are delayed. The order kids select cards in is important. Choosing two attack cards in a row, for instance, inflicts double the damage to all monsters in the same path.
Some confusion may stem from the tutorial kids see before playing, such as it excluding the fact that there are different types of cards, which are denoted by a symbol in the upper left hand corner. Attack and Skill cards offer benefits to help you defeat monsters, while Monster cards do damage. Even if you read a card's description, its effect may still not be completely clear. In addition to the basic gameplay, kids can also try to complete three optional tasks in each tavern -- defeating the tavern boss, looting its treasure, or completing an associated quest -- to win gold that can be used to improve their character and cards. While they don't have to do any of that if they don't want to, those elements add even more complexity to the game, which can already be confusing. If kids are willing to invest the time to figure out the rules and familiarize themselves with how the cards work, the game could potentially offer them a chance to flex their logic and basic math skills, since Monster cards zap one or more strength points. The considerable learning curve that's involved in Card Crawl Adventure, though, may be a deterrent for some kids.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.