Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas

App review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas App Poster Image

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Angry Birds-like battles with variety, sense of humor.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Learning how to play is simple enough, and the controls work well. The levels grow increasingly more difficult as you move along, becoming very challenging in the latter half of the game.

Violence

You launch little egg-shaped pirates, ninjas, zombies, or pandas out of cannons in order to destroy more of the same types of characters. Characters will take damage (sometimes getting a black eye) or be completely destroyed (vanishing in a puff of smoke). Certain characters can drop bombs or set fire to whatever they hit. Enemy characters can burn up if hit by fire. None of the violence is realistic. In some of the still illustrations, you can see a zombie with a ninja's sword stuck through its head.

Sex
Language

No bad language, but there is a farting panda.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Certain pirates drink from a jug marked "XXX" and can then spit fire.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas depicts battles in a comical, cartoony way. It is a trajectory-based physics puzzler, like Angry Birds, and fighting occurs when characters on one side launch themselves out of a cannon at the other. Kids will see a lot of things blowing up here, and occasionally burning, but there's no blood at all. And all the characters are really just egg-shaped heads. There is one panda character who gets extra momentum by farting while in the air. The game can become quite challenging as it progresses, so kids will need patience -- and a lot of trial-and-error -- to pass later levels. An HD version is available to the iPad.

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Is it any good?

You can probably tell from the title that PIRATES VS. NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES VS. PANDAS doesn't take itself too seriously. As a mash-up of App Store favorites -- Angry Birds gameplay blended with all the clichéd character types that overpopulate the bestseller lists -- PvNvZvP could have been nothing more than a jokey novelty app itself. But far more than just a spoof, this is a terrific app game in its own right. The developers went out of their way to add loads of variety and originality to take the game far beyond an Angry Birds clone. The humor (even if some of it is coarse) all works, and the mixing up of these different warring factions keeps you interested to see what's coming up next. Plus, the developers have updated the app with two multi-level campaigns (one Christmas-themed and one Super Bowl-themed, in which all four groups fight against football players), with the promise of more to come.

App details

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