A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Toon Blast is a puzzle app for iOS and Android devices. Unlike other free to play games, Toon Blast doesn't force players to watch ads often between rounds, so they can primarily play without interruption. They can purchase coins and use them to keep playing if they run out of moves in a round, with packages ranging from $1.99 to $99.99, but they probably won't need to. If players reach level 20, they'll be able to join a team and chat with other users. Posts with swearing will be blocked, but some users have found ways around the filter. Parents will need to disable the chat feature to ensure kids can't talk to other players. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be included.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Players line up colored blocks to clear them from a board and work toward achieving different goals in TOON BLAST. They may be asked to clear a certain amount of purple and red blocks -- and in another round, need to clear enough blocks for several balloons to sink to the bottom of the board. Removing several at a time earns tools like rockets, as well as boosters, such as bombs and disco balls, to quickly clear large areas by completing levels. Doing so earns stars that accumulate and provide similar rewards at the end of a level.
Is it any good?
This puzzle game offers a fun, enjoyable playing experience without subjecting players to most of the traditional free-to-play game issues. In Toon Blast, players don't have to pause to watch multiple ads or deal with other delays. They can even choose to skip the fanfare at the end of each round to move on to the next level faster. They face different, increasingly challenging goals as they progress -- at first, they just need to remove a particular amount of colored blocks in a given number of moves. Later on, players are asked to clear a certain number of balloons, ducks, and bubbles. They're also given different tools periodically to help them remove large amounts of blocks -- such as disco balls that shoot beams out toward random points, and a hammer that can clear an entire row -- which helps prevent the game from getting boring. While you can repeat rounds or pay to keep playing, you're typically given more than enough moves to finish before running out.
The animal characters that drive out in a camper at the beginning of the round seem somewhat random, because there's no info about how they tie into the game -- and they're mostly just shown in still images, celebrating after a round or posing individually next to their name. Their presence is a little confusing, but it doesn't significantly detract from the ability to continuously play without having to purchase or watch something. The biggest concern may be a kid's ability to converse with other users once they reach a certain level, but fortunately that can be feature can be removed in the app's settings. These minor problems aside, Toon Blast is a ball to play, and manages to be one of the best free-to-play experiences around.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about setting screen time limits. It's easy to get sucked into playing round after round in Toon Blast, but why is it helpful to set daily or weekly screen time limits for a game? How much time is too much to be spending on an app or online game?
Players work toward unlocking boosters and other items in Toon Blast, so what goal would you like to reach, and what steps will it take to get there?