A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
This notoriously tough and frantic game has two difficulty options — "Normal" and "Elite" — as well as multiple control options. It also offers a helpful tutorial for people unfamiliar with this series and similar shooters.
Violence & Scariness
Players use a variety of guns and grenades to destroy aliens, drones, and other enemies, human and otherwise. That said, there's no blood, gore, or dismemberment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters have skimpy outfits and somewhat unrealistic proportions, and will strike sexy poses in the menus.
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Products & Purchases
Players use in-game currency to unlock new characters and weapons, to upgrade those characters and weapons. This currency is earned by playing, or bought in the game's store. This is the latest game in the long-running Contra franchise, which has spanned multiple consoles for decades.
Parents Need to Know
Is It Any Good?
You know a mobile game is good when you wish you could also play it on a console or PC. Like the 1987 original arcade game, and its good sequels, Contra Returns is a side-scrolling shooter in which you -- as super soldier Bill Rizer -- have to take out a seemingly endless army of trigger-happy aliens, human hating robots, effective stationary turrets, and other enemies, human and otherwise. Good thing you're also a lover of guns, and come armed to the teeth with futuristic weapons, a ton of grenades, and an ability to jump even when you're in mid-air. All of which make this feel a lot like the original arcade game.
That said, Contra Returns does add some new elements, including the ability to upgrade your weapons and character. Also, while you have some special weapons, as well as grenades, you're not limited by how many you happen to find along the way. Instead, you can only use one at a time, and then have to wait for them to recharge before deploying them again, like when you use a magic spell in a role-playing game. While this new installment perfectly captures the spirit of the original arcade game, it would clearly work better if it had the same controls. Sure, the touchscreen and virtual joystick work fine, but it's hard not to imagine how much better this would be if you could use a real controller with a real joystick and could play it on a bigger screen. But even with the less than ideal controls, Contra Returns will give you the same feeling as the original did back in the day.
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.