A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Very few words are used in the instruction. Players mostly see examples and will need to figure some things out for themselves.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that PewPew Live is an arcade game for iOS and Android devices. The game has a tutorial, but players will have to dig for it, because it's located in the Settings section of the app. Even still, the guidance relies more on images than text and is fairly general, without describing how each game mode works, which will lead to trial and error in play. The game involves shooting, although the targets are things like red circles, instead of humans, and there isn't any gore. The app's free to download -- users won't be pummeled by ads, and there are no in-app purchases.
Is It Any Good?
This is a simple, yet fun game that should keep players amused, once they figure out what's going on. Essentially, players try to shoot at and destroy or possibly avoid items in PewPew Live. In one mode, items that appear to be small airplanes move in a line toward you. In another, asteroids float by in space. A few aspects aren't initially clear due to the fairly sparse instruction you receive. You'll have to hunt for the formal tutorial, which is different from the brief intro they're shown, and the instruction in general relies mostly on visual imagery to explain things, which may leave players with some questions. Certain aspects, such as the Quick Pause feature, which will periodically freeze the screen in games unless you disable it in the settings, aren't really explained at all. With just a few words shown on each game mode's main page, players may not know what exactly they're trying to do at first. Before starting to play an Asteroids game, for instance, the screen just says "Euclidean space is overrated." A Configure Ship page contains model, trait, and bullet options, but no information on how to obtain them.
The app sports festive retro graphics that are reminiscent of 1980s video games. In addition to the five official game modes, players can try their luck at a number of designs submitted by the other players. They can also opt for either a single player option or face off against random opponents in games, which offers some variety. With practice, players should be able to figure out the basics -- and there's no harsh penalty for failing, because you can just click on the "Play again" button and try again. There isn’t a huge focus on earning points or in-app currency, and there's nothing to buy to enhance gameplay -- the app doesn't have ads or a store section. The focus is solely on playing, which is refreshing -- and more than makes up for PewPew Live's somewhat spotty game instructions.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.