Deck 'Em!

App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Deck 'Em! App Poster Image
Interesting card-battle game takes boxing into a new arena.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Game uses simple touch controls that are explained well. A knowledge of boxing or boxing terms isn't required.

Violence

While no punches are being thrown, characters are shown suffering from such injuries as black eyes.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Players earn in-game money by playing. This can then be used to bet on the outcome of a fight. Players can also tip the developers $2.99 or $9.99 by using the "tip jar" button.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Deck 'Em! is a card-based fighting game for iOS devices. While it's a fighting game, you don't actually see anyone fighting, though you do see the aftermath, including black eyes and other abrasions. Otherwise, though, it has no objectionable content. Players earn in-game money by playing, and this money can be used to bet on upcoming bouts. Players can also give tips of $2.99 or $9.99 to the developers, though it doesn't give them anything in return. 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?

Like many boxing stories, the one in the card battle game DECK 'EM! has you starting out as a contender who hopes to work your way up the circuit until it's your turn to take on the champ. To do this, you play a relatively simple battle card game, but one that uses the tenets of boxing and not, say, fantasy sword fighting. You'll use cards to throw punches or block incoming blows instead of physically acting yourself, and you'll try to use some light strategy to outthink your opponents.

Is it any good?

Though not as deep as most battle card games, this boxing one does have a simple approach that some non-pugilists will appreciate. In Deck 'Em!, you're an up-and-coming boxer looking for your shot at the title. But rather than pressing buttosn to throw punches or duck, this has you using simple touch controls -- and, well, rudimentary math -- to beat your opponents. For example, if you throw a punch or use a block card ranked 5 points on a challenger card ranked 5 or lower, you take them out and, in the case of the block card, keep the card to use again. But if they're ranked 6 or above, you subtract the 5 points from their rank, allowing them to do the remaining amount as damage on you, while also losing the card. Thankfully, you can get a quick fix of health...assuming, of course, that a health card comes up (it's all random).

Now, while this game's simplicity may engage some players for a while, it won't work on serious boxing fans, who'll want more depth, and the same is true for serious card battle fans. Still others (like some parents) won't like the idea that their junior welterweights (i.e., their kids) can gamble on the outcome, even if it is only virtual money. But if you (or your kid) is old enough, and looking for something a bit strategic, it might be fun to go a few rounds with Deck 'Em!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the fighting in Deck 'Em! affected by the lack of violence that's conducted by people? While you don't throw punches, you do see what happens to someone when they get hit with one, so does it make you feel any differently about boxing to see people badly injured? What about fighting in general?

  • Deck 'Em! has a button that will allow you to give a tip to the developers to thank them for their hard word, but you don’t get anything in return, so does this seem fair? Does it seem more fair to sell you things in a game you don't really need?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad
  • Price: free with microtransactions
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: September 24, 2020
  • Category: Card Games
  • Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
  • Size: 291.40 MB
  • Publisher: Frosty Pop
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later; Requires Android 5.0 and up
  • Last updated: September 29, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love card games

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