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Garbage Pail Kids: The Game

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Garbage Pail Kids: The Game App Poster Image
Repetitious card collection game relies on gross-out humor.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Simple combat system and auto-play button make gameplay a breeze.

Violence

Combat is depicted as cards bumping each other: no wounded animations or blood, and defeated cards simply vanish. Visual images of the characters can be somewhat disturbing.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Card collection takes so long, players may be tempted to spend money to speed up the process. Based on popular Garbage Pail Kids cards from the '80s, which spun off toys and a movie.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Garbage Pail Kids: The Game is a card collection game for iOS devices. The game is based on the popular '80s trading cards of the same name. Created as the antithesis of Cabbage Patch Kids, the characters come in various monstrous varieties: gross (vomiting, nose-picking), violent (electrocuting each other, blowing things up, eating dismembered body parts), or deformed/grotesque (horribly injured, cross-dressing, obese). As a result, card art could be considered inappropriate in today's political climate. The game's focus is collecting trading cards and using them to "battle" online players and AI opponents. There's no depiction of injury, blood, or death; combat simply involves cards bumping into each other. Gameplay encourages players to speed up progress by purchasing card packs and in-app currency. 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?

GARBAGE PAIL KIDS: THE GAME is a freemium card/collection game based on the popular Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. The point is to collect all the GPK cards, create powerful teams from them, and win turn-based battles against the AI and real players online. Cards come in three categories: Brawlers, Tanks, and Support, and each card can be upgraded and equipped with items and accessories that improve its effectiveness. Three different battle modes -- Nut Fights, Dolt Fights, and Calamity Club -- take players through a series of battles with AI opponents, allowing them to earn items and materials for crafting items. Rewards also include three types of in-app currency, which can be used to buy character tokens (which are then used to purchase character cards). Arena mode pits human players against one another online, and Events give players the chance to fight special battles and earn rare character tokens, experience, and currency.

Is it any good?

Nostalgia sells, and this much anticipated app draws upon '80s kids' memories of their favorite gross-out toys, with an aim to making money by reigniting that childhood passion. Unfortunately, due to dull, repetitious combat and a super-slow collection mechanic, nostalgia is about all Garbage Pail Kids: The Game has to offer. Admittedly (for those of us who remember them), it's fun at first, getting reacquainted with the Garbage Pail Kids. Who can forget Adam Bomb or TeeVee Stevie? These objectionable characters, with their violent tendencies and poor hygiene, will no doubt elicit the same giggly reaction in today's kids as yesterday's. Whether that's appropriate in today's political climate is another story. Some cards represent characters who cross-dress or who have physical deformations or weight problems, and conscientious parents might want to avoid encouraging their kids to laugh at people who are obese, disabled, or gender-fluid. 

Beyond questions of sensitivity and taste, the app succeeds somewhat in terms of gameplay. It's quick and easy to jump in, create a squad, and fight, especially if you turn on auto-play mode. Character upgrades are straightforward and simple, and the app tells you when and where to use your equipment. Leveling is also a breeze, because once you've won a battle, you can "insta-win" it as long as you have enough energy and insta-win tickets. The energy mechanic can, of course, limit your free play, but that might not be an issue, considering the app's inherent repetition. Its three single-player modes play more or less identically, and player-vs.-player (PvP) does little to differentiate itself. Because of this, after a few hours, Garbage Pail Kids: The Game becomes less a fun strategy game and more a tedious slog to collect all the cards. If your sense of nostalgia (and your love of gross-out jokes) compels you to endure this, you could find some satisfaction from going through the process. But otherwise, you might find yourself wanting to toss this app in the trash.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how nostalgia drives marketing. What movies/TV shows/games do you or your kids like because they remind you of the past? 

  • Why do kids go for potty humor and booger jokes? Is it a good idea to encourage that kind of humor?

  • Do your kids have a favorite character who's not a typical hero or not a hero at all? (For example, Severus Snape, Jack Skellington, or Gru.)

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love collectible card games

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