Guardian Tales

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Guardian Tales App Poster Image
Fun throwback tale with lots to do but little handholding.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

There's a lot going on in the background of this game, but the core game mechanics are easy enough to grasp. 

Violence

Plenty of fights, but the 8-bit graphics make them less objectionable. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game aggressively promotes in-app purchases when you load it up. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Guardian Tales is a role-playing game for Android and iOS devices. This is a nostalgia-focused game that winks at many other games along the way. It uses 8-bit graphics, speech bubbles, and minimal sound effects to impart the old-school feel and never takes itself too seriously. The game also blends in some world-building elements, so you're not just rescuing the princess from villains. While there's frequent on-screen violence, the graphical style and its classic arcade feel make that less objectionable than games with a more stylized appearance. There's no sex or language to worry about, but the game does aggressively promote in-game purchases. 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?

As with many Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs), there's a basic storyline at work in GUARDIAN TALES. You're a new knight who survives a battle where the princess is captured by aliens, so you follow them to try to rescue her. Along the way, you'll encounter plenty of side quests and meet quirky people. Your job is to rise from a humble beginning and become the savior of the land. After you clear the first world, though, you'll also find a strategy element layered onto the game, where you can build your own town, adding things like a bakery, a cafe, and more to keep other characters happy. And each map includes a side quest or two that let you build up your in-game currency and start summoning heroes and weapons. 

Is it any good?

This game embraces nostalgia warmly, but it doesn't help you figure out what you're doing or what your next moves should be from one section to the next. Using old-school graphics and a heavy dose of humor (and nods to other games), Guardian Tales seems welcoming to players even if its interface is a bit complicated and it doesn't have an especially strong tutorial. Beneath that seemingly casual first layer, though, is a game that ultimately demands the player's attention. There's a lot going on, but it's introduced at a slow enough pace that it's not instantly overwhelming. And whether you like the hack-and-slash style of older games, the town building, the hero summoning, or some other element, there's bound to be something for almost everyone. 

The fact that there's so much going on isn't a criticism, though. It's admirable. Guardian Tales offers an astounding amount of diversity and gameplay for a free-to-play game. The price for that is a heavy-handed push for in-app purchases (which is hardly unheard of these days) and a confusing currency system that will take some time to wrap your head around. Neither are deal-breakers. It's a game that never takes itself too seriously, but it isn't loaded with fluff. If you're an RPG fan -- especially a JRPG fan -- Guardian Tales is a great escape. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about responsibility. How far would you go to protect someone you love or care for?

  • Do you stick to the task at hand or allow yourself to be distracted by other things that vie for your attention? 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love role-playing games

Themes & Topics

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