Command & Conquer Rivals

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
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Solid versus strategy crumbles under a pay-to-win mentality.

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Ease of Play

Overall, the main controls are simple to use, though it can quickly get overwhelming to control multiple units in real-time. Steep difficulty curve after some early stages, as players run into opponents with a much higher level and rarer units in their arsenals.


A lot of constant, steady violence unfolding in real-time on the screen. While squads of soldiers might get mowed down and vehicles explode in fiery destruction, smaller scale of visuals reduces impact; no visible blood or gore.


Free to play but pushes hard for players to spend real-world money to expand their forces. Grinding through stage after stage after stage in attempt to bolster your army can quickly get frustrating, especially when constantly facing opponents that have spent money for rarer and more powerful units. This is a mobile installment of a popular computer strategy franchise.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Command & Conquer Rivals is a free-to-play sci-fi strategy game available for iOS and Android devices. Players compete against each other in real-time strategic warfare. The violence is constant, though due to the smaller scale of the visuals and overall presentation, there's no blood or gore. Although the controls are relatively simple, the game's difficulty level can skyrocket quickly when players have multiple units in play simultaneously. The game does heavily promote spending real money in exchange for more and rarer units to add to players' armies, and later games can be a frustratingly difficult grind unless players do pay for more.

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What's it about?

The war for the future of Earth and all humankind goes mobile in COMMAND & CONQUER RIVALS for iOS and Android devices. Once again, the high-tech military forces of the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) face off against the guerilla-style tactics of the Brotherhood of Nod and their leader, the self-proclaimed prophet, Kane. Players will go head-to-head in real-time strategy combat against players from across the globe as they fight for dominance of the battlefield. You'll need to cut the opposition off from its resources, decimate its forces, and arm nuclear weapons to annihilate the enemy base to neutralize the threat once and for all. Over time, you'll recruit and train powerful units and commanders to your cause. You can also amass your army and take on others in Rivals Champions, where players of all skill levels can compete in a unique matchmaking pool with different ranked tiers, earning bigger and better rewards as they rise through the ranks. Show them all who the greatest military strategist is and save humanity ... or crush them all beneath your boot.

Is it any good?

It's been years since the last time gamers have fought in the Tiberium Wars of EA's popular strategy series, but this mobile version shoots a lot of blanks with its gameplay. Command & Conquer Rivals is a free-to-play competitive player-versus-player entry, built from the ground up for mobile devices. Fans of the franchise will feel right at home at first, with instantly recognizable characters and that distinct Command & Conquer style. But while the game is surprisingly well designed and plays nicely in the portable environment, there are a few major hurdles keeping it from restoring the series to its former glory.

The biggest problem facing Command & Conquer Rivals is that its free-to-play model feels completely broken. After getting through the tutorial and early stages, the game seems to frustratingly and almost unfairly crank up the difficulty. This is because your initial army is relatively weak, and it takes a lot of gameplay to level your existing units and earn new and better troops. This can be easily bypassed by spending actual money. Unfortunately, this fosters more of a pay-to-win formula, since the game focuses on real-world opponents and many of them have already built powerful armies. This pushes players to spend even more money just to compete, and the cycle continues until it feels like the only way to success is to break the proverbial bank with microtransactions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. How is the impact of the violence in Command &Conquer Rivals affected by the constant warfare on the screen? Is the impact lessened because of the smaller screens on phones and tablets?

  • How do certain games push people to spend real-world money in otherwise "free" games? What sort of advantages does spending money give and how much is too much?

App details

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For kids who love science fiction

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