Pokémon TCG Online

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Pokémon TCG Online App Poster Image
Faithful but unstable digital version of original card game.

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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

Tutorial matches against the computer are forgiving, but live online opponents are not. 

Violence

Combat is the name of the game, but it consists of cards being tilted and removed from the table.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Promotes online website with links to the Pokémon online shop. In-app purchases for coins to buy card booster packs. Parents can disable purchases, trading, and chat via a Pokémon Trainer Club account.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pokémon TCG Online is a free-to-play digital version of the original Pokémon trading card game. It's a close approximation that encourages players to compete, interact (online), as well as trade and purchase collectible cards. Combat consists entirely of cards placed on and removed from a virtual table. The game links to a larger online Pokémon portal where players can create a profile, read Pokémon-related news, and contribute to online forums. For more details on the kinds of information collected and shared, read the app's privacy policy.

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What's it about?

POKÉMON TCG ONLINE is a digital version of the original tabletop Pokémon trading card game. It involves collecting and powering up monster cards for use in competitive matches. Matches can be played against the computer or online against other players from around the world. Cards can be traded or bought in packs. There are five modes: Trainer Challenge, Versus, Events, Tutorial, and Quick Match. Players can create and save their own custom card decks and can buy new decks with tokens earned in-game or tickets bought with real money. Through an online account, parents can control a kid's access to trading, chat, and purchases.

Is it any good?

If not for serious login and stability issues, this would be a fantastic digital translation of the original TCG. It's possible to play without creating a Trainer Club profile, and progress is saved when you're a Guest, but to access all the game's features, a profile is required. Login functionality is spotty, and the app often thinks you're logged in when you aren't. Also, it sometimes doesn't recognize correct account information, which can make getting started a hassle. Stability is OK on the iPad, but Android players have suffered from frequent crashes. Aside from these technical issues, Pokémon TCG Online has a lot of fun to offer. Gameplay is quick and features great visuals and sometimes sound (some music and sound effects seem to be missing). The Trainer Challenge lets you try out differently themed decks and gives you plenty of opportunity to earn rewards while you learn the ropes. With custom deck backs and avatars, you can personalize your gameplay. Though collectible games tend to promote in-game purchases, it's totally possible to play forever without having to spend a dime, and parents can control how much access kids have to chat and buying coins, which makes this a solid choice for Pokémon lovers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the global Pokémon phenomenon and using Pokémon TCG Online. How has the Pokémon game community changed the way you play? 

  • Set expectations for in-app purchases. If they're allowed, how much can kids buy?

  • Discuss good sportsmanship. What makes someone a good winner or a good loser, and how does that translate to their behavior online? 

  • Think about how online communities bring people together. Do you have any gamer friends from other countries? 

App details

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