Slugterra: Dark Waters

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Slugterra: Dark Waters App Poster Image
Freemium sci-fi shooter is fun but doesn't stand out.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Controls straightforward but slightly laggy and occasionally unresponsive. Long tutorial. On a third-generation iPad, it took a very long time to load. 

Violence & Scariness

Action fighting game with cartoon violence, missions to kill humanoid and alien animal enemies, explosions, and one-on-one duels. No real gore, and slugs as ammunition rather than bullets. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

As a freemium game, you'll find the usual options to watch video advertisements or pay real-world money for in-game currency. Losing all your health requires you to spend currency or watch advertisements to retry a mission, and the tutorial forces you to spend lots of coins before introducing you to the shop. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slugterra: Dark Waters is a freemium sci-fi action-adventure game based on a TV show where players control a variety of characters through alien worlds using weapons that shoot a variety of cute slug-like creatures as ammunition. It's possible to play through the game without ever spending any real-world cash, but players will probably have to watch plenty of advertisements and grind through the same battles many times to earn enough coins to buy power-ups. The game's violence is cartoonish and doesn't feature any kind of gore, but it's impossible to play without killing some enemies. Be sure to take a look at the app's privacy policy for information on the kinds of data are collected, stored, and used by the developer. 

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What's it about?

SLUGTERRA: DARK WATERS is an action-adventure shooter game based on the animated TV show Slugterra. Players control Eli Shane, a slug-slinger who uses a variety of blaster weapons to fire slugs as ammunition at his enemies -- minions of the evil Dr. Blakk -- as they try to capture the slugs for their own weapons. Along the way, Eli gains companions and power-ups to help him on his quest. The game features a combination of tap-to-move adventuring and third-person combat. Much of the content is free or can be purchased with in-game coins, which can be collected during story missions, but players can buy most power-ups, items, and multipliers in the store using in-app purchases. 

Is it any good?

Overall, this is a successful action game, but it's not as exciting or innovative as other options. The game's story is fleshed out enough to drive the missions, but it ultimately feels pretty shallow and a bit self-contradictory: Eli's fighting to keep the slugs from being weaponized, all while using weaponized slugs himself. Combat doesn't take much skill, which makes the game pretty accessible but doesn't give the same satisfaction as something more complex. The game's art and environments are well done, but everything feels a bit like we've seen it before. In short, it's solid enough and no doubt will delight fans of the series, but newcomers might get bored quickly. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about limits on in-app purchases and putting in time doing repetitive tasks to earn rewards vs. paying to get them immediately. What are your rules about buying online?

  • Also discuss the use of violence in exploration and resolving conflict. Do all adventures have to include violence, or are there other ways of dealing with danger on new frontiers? Is it OK to use violence and destruction if it means saving a companion or helping people?

App details

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