Honkai Impact 3

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Honkai Impact 3 App Poster Image
Complex tale has tons to do but sexualizes its heroines.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Streamlined controls mean easy wins; complex upgrade system takes time to absorb.

Violence

Combat is near-constant, with cartoonish swords, guns, and energy weapons. No blood or gore.

Sex

Some female characters have cleavage and wear tight/revealing outfits. Reference to fetishes. Dialogue can be objectifying and can focus on characters' underwear or physical measurements.

Language

In-game chat isn't moderated (and players can friend each other and send text messages and screenshots via the game and social sites), possibly exposing players to inappropriate content.

Consumerism

The game is free to play, but store items are promoted and make purchases tempting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Honkai Impact 3 is a free-to-play anime role-playing game (RPG) in which female heroes are engaged in constant combat. Most of the fighting is cartoon style, with no blood; characters use swords, guns, and energy weapons. The central characters have cleavage and wear tight/revealing outfits; they're shown from objectifying camera angles. The dialogue can be saucy, with references to fetishes and seeing characters' panties, and the official website goes so far as to list each character's age, height, weight, and bust measurements. Within the app, players can friend one another, chat, and send one another text messages, as well as share in-game screenshots via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The in-app shop tempts players, but free play is easy. The app's privacy policy details the kinds of information that are collected and shared. To read the privacy policy in full, visit developer miHoYo Co., Ltd.'s official website.

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What's it about?

HONKAI IMPACT 3 is an anime-style role-playing game (RPG) focused on combat and hero upgrades. Players control a collection of Valkyries -- attractive young warrior girls -- who are fighting against a world-destroying evil called Honkai. The story progresses through a series of missions as players use special skills and augments called Stigmata to battle zombies and mechanical monsters. Half of the gameplay is focused on combat; the other half is based on upgrading heroes and equipment. In addition to the main story campaign, players can join and create guilds, as well as enjoy standalone gold and equipment-gathering modes, special events, and unique side stories.

Is it any good?

For a game that banks on a morally questionable marketing strategy -- the appeal of attractive young girls -- this is a surprisingly good RPG. Not only does it look good, with its well-drawn characters, fully animated cutscenes, rich environments, and eye-popping special effects, but its simple controls and targeting system make its action sequences as smooth as glass. On their own, those things would be enough to make the game worth playing, but add in the vast amount of free play, and the app's value becomes undeniable. Though the app uses the familiar energy-based play model, it takes a generous approach to it, so you can play for a long time without spending money to replenish your energy (or anything else, really). Better yet, learning to play is a breeze, thanks to a good tutorial and an extensive beginner's guide.

This is one of those rare games that makes complex concepts seem simple. Between gaining equipment, new hero skills, and leveling; getting new costumes; building a base; using Stigmata powers; crafting; co-op; and special challenges, there's a lot to do, and it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, Honkai Impact 3 presents everything in digestible chunks and with a dash of saucy humor. There's a lot of visual variety, and even beginners get to feel cool and powerful. Though some parents might understandably take issue with the occasional flirty dialogue and the objectification of the characters (especially considering how young some of them are meant to be), for teens and older gamers, this is a strong free-to-play RPG.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sex, gender, and body image. Is it problematic that Honkai Impact 3 focuses so much on the look and the physical traits of the characters? Is that "just an anime thing," or is it a larger issue?

  • How does the lack of blood and gore affect the impact of the game's violence? Would you prefer to see a break in the action instead of nonstop combat?

  • When is animation not appropriate for children? How can you tell when something animated is clearly meant for adults?

App details

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