A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
The game walks you through the early levels fairly gently, with a focus on single-player. By the time players venture into the multiplayer arena, they have a good understanding of what's necessary.
Violence & Scariness
Although a lot of time is spent building up your base, the game ultimately is more about attacking NPC (non-player-character) enemies or the villages of other (real-life) players. There's no blood, but, when your troops are killed, they grunt and collapse to the ground.
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Because of the chat feature, kids can encounter all kinds of language.
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Products & Purchases
The game gives players a good stockpile of resources at the start of the game, but the longer you play, the harder they are to find. Players are likely to be tempted by the in-app purchases of crystals; they range from $5 to $100.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Wars: Commander is a strategic action game similar to Clash of Clans set in the well-known movie universe directly after the events of Episode IV (the "original" Star Wars). The app lets players test their mettle against both artificial-intelligence characters and real-world opponents. There are frequent battles with explosions and the cries of defeated soldiers, but there is no real graphic violence -- and the game is less graphic than the films. Players can choose to side with Luke Skywalker and the Rebels or Darth Vader and the Empire. The game's chief focus is its multiplayer mode, letting players attack the outposts of other players (and defend their own), and they can chat with squad members via in-game text: Though the game itself will appeal to younger players, having the opportunity to chat with strangers makes it more appropriate for older kids and teens. Fortifying a base and building an army costs money, and the game uses in-app purchases to help players buy in-game currency to upgrade more quickly, but they're not mandatory.
Is It Any Good?
Although it's loaded with Star Wars references and nostalgia, you can't help but get a Clash of Clans vibe from this strategic, resource-management title. That's hardly a bad thing, since that game is one of the most successful apps around, but there don't seem to be a lot of immediately unique qualities to Commander, other than its well-known universe.
Still, that universe adds a lot. The ability to play as either the Empire or the Rebels is a fun twist -- and you'll get a thrill when familiar characters from the film briefly appear. The single-player campaign seems a bit longer, too, letting players practice and figure out tactics without suffering frustrating defeats. It's a slow, methodical game, which makes it less than ideal for younger players, but for fans of traditional strategy games, there's plenty to like here -- assuming they didn't get their fill of Clash of Clans gameplay already. It's also important to talk to your kids about online privacy and safety before they get too far into the game: Though the in-game chat is mostly play-related and is text-only, it would be easy to offer up personal information or feel pressured to do so by other players.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.