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Cartoon Network Arcade

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Cartoon Network Arcade App Poster Image
All ages arcade fun with a heavy handed ad presence.

Parents say

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Most of the included games use simple tap/slide controls, easy for kids of all ages to pick up and play. Many are also reflex based, which quickly ramps up the difficulty as games either speed up and/or add more complex elements.

Violence & Scariness

Some games feature scenes of silly, cartoon violence, such as falling into lava or off crumbling towers, hitting characters with soccer balls, etc. None of this is remotely graphic in nature, and usually even more tame than the cartoons on which the games are based. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

There’s no profanity or blatantly offensive language in any of the games, though there are occasional lines of slightly crude humor or tongue-in-cheek references that would fly over most kids’ heads.

Consumerism

While the game doesn't include any sort of microtransactions, it’s still essentially one big advertisement for Cartoon Network programming. The game even encourages kids to use the app to scan episodes of certain Cartoon Network shows to unlock collectible content. Finally, the game makes a heavy use of advertisements, pushing kids to watch ads for extra in-game bonuses.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cartoon Network Arcade is a collection of mini-games available as a free download for iOS and Android devices. Each of the available games is based on one or more of the animated series in the Cartoon Network programming lineup, including shows such as Teen Titans GO!, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Ben 10. The games range in style from action to strategy to puzzle. There's some mild cartoon violence in a few of the games, but never anything graphic. There are no microtransactions in the game, though there's still a heavy commercial element. Kids are encouraged to watch ads for in-game boosts, and to use the app to “scan” episodes of the different shows while they’re airing to earn in-game collectibles. 

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What's it about?

Save your quarters and join all your favorite Cartoon Network characters in the CARTOON NETWORK ARCADE, a collection of fun mini-games features the stars of Teen Titans GO!, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Craig of the Creek, and more. Smash piñatas with Beast Boy, go hiking with the We Bare Bears, or use the Omnitrix and save the universe as Ben Tennyson. Play, watch, and collect, earning unique virtual figurines by reaching certain in-game milestones or by using the app to scan certain episodes of your favorite shows while you watch. And with new games, new figures, and new content being added on a regular basis, this is one star-packed arcade that’s always open for Cartoon Network fans.

Is it any good?

Cartoon Network has built a reputation for entertaining both kids and adults alike with its wide selection of fun and creative animated series, and this app follows the same formula. Instead of choosing one series to base a single game on, Cartoon Network Arcade gives fans access to a whole library of games based all their favorite shows. While it might be easy to dismiss the free app as just a marketing gimmick, there’s actually lots of fun baked in that’s sure to appeal to fans and gamers alike.

Cartoon Network Arcade’s selection of games covers the gamut of mobile gaming types. From endless runner to reflex tapping to strategic building to classic puzzle, it’s all here. And the only thing more surprising than the number of games is the quality. Sure, these are all quick ways to kill some time, but each one feels like it could stand on its own as a mobile release. Kids will get an extra kick out of the collectible aspect of the game, earning unique virtual figurines through gameplay, promotions, and even by watching the Cartoon Network and scanning their favorite shows with the app. If there’s one gripe to be had with the app, it’s the heavy advertising push it throws at kids. At various points in the games, kids are given the option to watch advertisements in return for in-game bonuses like extra time or score multipliers. While this is a staple in many mobile games, especially free-to-play games, the fact that this specifically targets kids sometimes feels a little heavy handed. Still, for fans, it’s hard not to love the Cartoon Network Arcade. It’s got a little something for everyone, and with more content on the way, fans should always find fun new ways to enjoy this animated arcade experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about commercialism in gaming. What are some of the ways that companies use games to advertise products? How do these advertisements and promotions affect viewers, kids in particular?

  • What are some of the shows that kids watch on television and what makes the shows entertaining? Does interacting with those shows, through gaming and apps, encourage kids to watch more?

App details

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For kids who love arcade games

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