A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Spies in Disguise: Agents on the Run is an endless runner action game based on the Spies in Disguise animated feature film, and is available for download on iOS and Android devices. Players take control of characters from the film as they run, jump, dodge, and slide their way past various obstacles and enemies, collecting coins and power-ups along the way. It does have some very mild violence, with players sliding into enemies to knock them over or running into obstacles and getting zapped, hit, or otherwise stopped in their tracks. The game's free-to-play but has a heavy push for players to buy items in the in-game shop or to watch short third-party ads to earn extra lives and other special items.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SPIES IN DISGUISE: AGENTS ON THE RUN puts players into the shoes of top-secret agent Lance Sterling, his science tech partner Walter Beckett, and other characters from Blue Sky Studios' animated spy comedy, Spies in Disguise. Players choose their favorite character and literally hit the ground running. They'll race through the streets and alleys of various global locales, collecting valuable coins and tech gear while leveling up unique special abilities sure to come in handy in the fight against the forces of evil. Need to give your legs a rest? Take a side trip to the parking lot and weave through traffic before jumping back into the foot chase for justice. After all, to save the world from global espionage, a world class spy needs to be fast on their feet … and look good doing it.
Is it any good?
Anytime a big movie, particularly a big movie aimed at kids, gets ready to hit theaters, it's a safe bet that a mobile game tie-in is sure to follow. Enter Spies in Disguise: Agents on the Run, an endless runner game based on the Spies in Disguise animated flick. If you've played any other of the endless number of endless runner games, you probably know what to expect. Players pick a character and then start an obstacle course run, jumping dodging, and sliding to bypass any hazards and collect the obligatory stream of coins. Oddly, the game never explains exactly how it's supposed to tie in to the movie from which it's based, and it never really feels like it fits. Instead, it feels like the movie was pigeonholed (pun intended) into a completely unrelated game.
The game tries to add a couple of extras layers to change up the formula a bit, giving each character a special ability and tossing the occasional car chase into the mix. But neither of these does much to make the game stand out. Only certain characters can ever access the car and those that can wind up dealing with controls that are sluggish and unresponsive while behind the wheel. The game's also hampered by the massive grind required to unlock any new content and characters. This leaves players stuck in a repetitive loop unless they're willing to shell out the cash to speed up their progress. Meanwhile, players have to choose whether or not to get pulled out of the experience and forced to watch thirty second ads for completely unrelated apps (some of which wouldn't necessarily be suited to the "all ages" market") just to continue their current run for a few more seconds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about commercialism in video games. What are some of the ways that games can be used to promote movies, TV shows, etc.? How can licensed games potentially add more to a franchise?
What are some of the ways that free-to-play games generate revenue at the players' expense? When do in-game purchases become more of a hindrance than a benefit? What are some of the risks of in-game ads for third-party apps?
- Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: December 25, 2019
- Category: Action Games
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Science and Nature
- Size: 59.00 MB
- Publisher: Denali Games LLC
- Version: 1.0.505
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or higher; Android 5.0 and up
- Last updated: December 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.