Disney Villains Challenge

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Disney Villains Challenge App Poster Image
Maleficent promo tool with hit-or-miss games, in-app buy.

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

Ease of Play

The mini-games are pretty challenging, requiring fast fine-motor skills and precise timing, and the difficulty ramps up really quickly.

Violence & Scariness

The setting is dark, and the villains taunt players with impressive sound effects, but there's no violence in the games. Kids are charged to "bring light to the darkness" and "defeat evil with good."

Sexy Stuff

If kids want to choose which villains' games they play, they'll need to make an in-app purchase to unlock that option. Otherwise, the app is a marketing tool for the Disney film Maleficent and includes a trailer for the movie in a link at the top of the screen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Disney Villains Challenge is a free app promoting Disney's Maleficent. The villains featured in the app -- Maleficent, Captain Hook, and Cruella De Vil -- are the Disney cartoon versions. The mini-games aren't scary or violent at all, but the villains do taunt players, and their laughs are truly evil. Playing a specific villain's games requires an in-app purchase. A video icon at the top of the screen links to a movie trailer for Maleficent, which includes a battle scene, a dragon breathing fire on several men, a command to "bring me her head," and scary walking trees.

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What's it about?

DISNEY VILLAINS CHALLENGE pits players against villains in mini-games. The free version cycles through six activities from all three featured villains, whereas the full version includes 18 mini-games and allows kids to choose which villain to play against. Each game is timed, and kids must complete the activity before time runs out. Once kids lose three of the mini-games, the game is over. Scores cumulate as kids play and can be shared on Game Center.

Is it any good?

Each mini-game is really brief, played against the timer for a few seconds each. Games get more challenging as kids play, adding more steps to complete in the same amount of time, and some quickly become nearly impossible to win. Both the fun and challenge is pretty hit-or-miss between games. Painting Maleficent's castle requires simply swiping a finger across the screen to "color" the castle. Playing the piano with a Dalmatian perched on top of it starts easily enough, repeating three or four notes played, with the keys lighting up in different colors. But, after a couple of rounds, the songs get longer and the keys don't light up -- and the timer doesn't give any more time. The villains' reactions add to the fun, making the inevitable defeat bearable. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about villains. What's a villain? What could have happened to make the villains become evil?

  • Parents may want to read our review of the movie before downloading the app and be prepared to discuss with kids if they will be allowed to watch the movie or not.

App details

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