Gumballs & Dungeons

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Gumballs & Dungeons App Poster Image
Dungeon adventure is engaging, has some presentation flaws.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Simple taps let you fight enemies, reveal rewards. Some strategy in item/magic use.

Violence

Players fight enemies, but defeat on either side means simply vanishing.

Sex
Language

Some profanity such as "damn," "hell," "s--t."

Consumerism

Easy to play without spending money. Doesn't push the in-game shop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mild references to drinking, smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gumballs & Dungeons is an accessible free-to-play dungeon-crawling adventure with some mild language. Enemies occasionally use words such as "hell," "damn," or "s--t," but gumball heroes and their enemies are cute and cartoony. Combat is non-graphic and bloodless. There are some references to drinking and smoking. The game contains a primitive in-game chat system and requests location information. The easy-to-read privacy policy describes the kinds of information gathered by the app. Read the policy here in its entirety.

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What's it about?

GUMBALLS & DUNGEONS doesn't have a story; it simply asks you to accept that gumballs deserve to be heroes as much as the next guy. Without really knowing why you're doing it, you become a gumball adventurer and creep through dungeons fighting bandits and finding loot. Exploration and combat are done with simple taps, but strategy comes in handy if you want to survive dungeons and collect more treasure. Between dungeon runs, you can build your own workshop, fill it with resource-gathering equipment, and hire gumball minions to run things for you, then craft food items and use them to upgrade your intrepid gumball heroes.

Is it any good?

Adult players could dismiss this one as a kids' game, with its spherical heroes and chirpy intro, but they'll be sorry if they do. There's more here than meets the eye, and patient players will be rewarded with a surprising amount of progressively changing gameplay. Unfortunately, some players could be put off not only by the cutesy characters but by the clumsy, poorly translated text. Not only does the text make the game feel sloppy, it fails to convey gameplay information.

Gumballs & Dungeons has a lot to offer -- combat, loot, crafting, resource gathering, hero abilities, item usage, hero collection -- but only does a so-so job of helping you understand how all of it relates. Because of this, players need patience to stick with it a while. Only after the first couple of hours do you really start to see the full range of fun that awaits. What's nice is you actually have that kind of time. Gumballs offers you plenty of gameplay without tapping into your savings and, unlike similar games, doesn't beg you to shop. That means the longer you play, the more new enemies you find and the more pop culture references you uncover. Though certain things are easier via the store (such as hero collecting), using it is completely optional. Still, the real challenge is overcoming the app's presentation; if you're willing to muddle through its sloppy, incomplete presentation, your reward is some fun dungeon crawling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about copyright. If one company invents a character, can other people use it?

  • Discuss game instructions. When you play a new game, do you read the instructions first or jump in and play?

  • Think about what makes you keep playing a game. How long do you play a game before uninstalling it?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
  • Pricing structure: Free (Contains optional in-game purchases)
  • Release date: November 23, 2016
  • Category: Adventure Games
  • Topics: Adventures
  • Size: 209.00 MB
  • Publisher: Qcplay Limited
  • Version: 1.4.0
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 7.0 or later

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love adventure

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