Hackers - Join the Cyberwar!

App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Hackers - Join the Cyberwar! App Poster Image
Breaking in requires busting out cash in OK sim.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Created for entertainment and not intended for learning.

Ease of Play

Simple touch controls but somewhat complex interface.

Violence

Though you are "attacking" fellow hackers, there's no blood, gore, or violence.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

While the base game is free, everything you do or build in the game requires in-game money, and players can use real-world money to buy these credits.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hackers - Join the Cyberwar! is a strategy game in which you choose programs to "hack" other computer systems, though it's all virtual and no real hacking occurs. While the game itself is free, players can use real money to buy credits to cut down wait times and supplement earned in-game currency. No parent gate prevents purchases. While you do attack other hackers, there's no blood, gore, or violence since your attacks are not physical but virtual. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

In HACKERS - JOIN THE CYBERWAR!, you play as a computer hacker who has to take on other hackers from around the world. To do so, you must use a variety of hacking programs (which you buy), then pick a target (which also requires money), and then use your hacking programs strategically (more money) to take them down before they can reboot their systems. 

Is it any good?

While this hacking strategy game has an interesting premise, it's greedier than it is strategic. Though Hackers - Join the Cyberwar! could involve puzzles or thinking of some kind, players simply click on a node in a spiderweb-looking graphical interface, click a hacking program, and wait to see if those hacking systems are better than the opponents'. And that's kind of it. Even when someone attacks you, the mechanics are basically the same. Its slick style and intriguing premise might entice kids. However, it's tempting to spend real money to get a leg up. It's also not the most stable game as it sometimes disconnects randomly, which can mess up a big hack. Some parents of tech-savvy kids also might question if the idea of malicious hacking is something to encourage in a game, but since it's so superficial, the impact is probably low. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about hacking. In Hackers - Join the Cyberwar!, what is hacking and how does it work? Why is computer hacking such a problem in the real world? Can you cite examples where hacking did more harm than good?

  • Talk about in-app purchases. While you don't have to use real money to buy items in this game, they do help speed things up and keep you playing. As a result, parents will want to set some limits on how much real money can be spent on this game during a certain time frame.

  • Discuss budgets. Everything in this game costs money. What have you learned about budgeting your money from playing this game? And what have you learned about saving money from playing this game?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (with optional in-app purchases)
  • Release date: October 5, 2016
  • Category: Strategy Games
  • Size: 231.00 MB
  • Publisher: Trickster Arts
  • Version: 1.004
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.1 or later; Android 4.0.3 and up

For kids who love computers and strategy

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