Spy vs Spy

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Spy vs Spy App Poster Image
Polished update of beloved arcade classic; cartoony fights.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Spy vs. Spy wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Ease of Play

While setting traps and finding the necessary items to win a round are fairly easy, it's easy to lose your place in the game's map. And traps will affect anyone who encounters them, even if you set them. Also, controlling the onscreen movement of the spies is less than optimal. 

Violence

While the Spies in the game set traps for each other that "kill" their opponents, they're comical -- such as a spring that flings you across the room or a bucket of water that falls on your head. The spies also fight each other with bats and kicks to the shin, but this is only reflected in still pictures shown in action buttons above their heads and is, again, cartoonish. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The spies are popular characters from Mad Magazine.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spy vs Spy is a faithful remake of a classic arcade game. While there's plenty of violence as the spies fight and set fatal traps for each other, it's all very cartoonish and never graphic. (When spies "die," they float upward wearing wings.) Players must remember where they set traps, as those can explode in their own face as well. There is a multiplayer mode, which lets players play against strangers, but no in-game communication is permitted. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

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What's it about?

Players navigate an embassy searching for required items behind desks, in safes, and in other areas, while setting traps to slow down their opponents. These traps range from springs that send the opposing spy flying across the room to buckets of water that electrocute them. The catch: Those traps can be just as deadly to you if you forget where you set them. When in the same room, spies can fight through a series of button mashes.

Is it any good?

The Spy vs Spy arcade game is a favorite among many gamers -- and this update of the title is only going to stoke that enthusiasm. Retaining the adventure and action elements of the original, along with all of the comedy, this new version brings the graphics to the high definition era, which welcomes in a new audience (and makes it an easier game to play). There's a thorough tutorial for newcomers -- and a wealth of multiplayer modes. 

It's not an easy game, though, by any means, which could frustrate some people. But whereas some mobile titles coddle players, Spy vs Spy offers complex, rich gameplay that makes it much more rewarding when you win. 

App details

For kids who love arcade and action games

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