A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Toy Blast is a simple, easy-to-understand matching game that offers, but doesn't require, in-app purchases. Generally, playing the game is a pretty safe experience, because kids can't connect with each other or access outside content through the app. They can click on a button to access Facebook and invite friends to play. If they spend time on Facebook as a result, as with many social media sites, that could present an opportunity to connect with people they don't know. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found here.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In TOY BLAST, players match two or more blocks of the same color to reach predetermined goals and free Amy's toys, which are trapped at the top of the game board. They'll use a set number of moves and get boosters along the way, such as TNT Box Boosters that remove the items around it and Roto Boosters that clear entire rows, to help finish rounds faster. As they complete levels, they'll earn coins, which can be used to extend playing, and move further on the map to locations like Purple Circus and Toy Pole.
Is it any good?
This simple match game is a lot of fun, which is only hampered by the push for players to constantly purchase items to help you keep playing failed levels. The game itself is pretty simple: Kids match colored cubes in horizontal or vertical patterns in a certain number of moves to meet a goal they've been given or to bring a toy trapped at the top of the board down to the bottom, freeing it for Amy, a little girl who appears on occasion, but isn't really directly referred to or explained. (A little more info on players' overall intent would make that more clear.) The graphics and game extras are fun: Fireworks explode when you finish a round, and you're occasionally given rockets, special cubes, and other items to help clear larger portions of the board. If a few seconds lapse in between moves, possible matches will jiggle to provide a clue, which can help players avoid getting stuck.
But if players fail to finish in the allotted number of moves, they'll be asked to spend 25 coins to buy five more moves. Since you're only given 25 to start with, and five moves don't last long, you may find that doesn't do much, unless you were extremely close to making all the necessary matches. If you instead need more moves to finish, you can make an in-app purchase and buy extra coins to extend playing time. Technically you don't have to; you can opt to end the game and just play until you finish the level. Time will eventually run out, and you won't be able to play again until your next life starts. The wait time isn't too bad -- some are as short as three and a half minutes -- but between pauses like lives running out and having to start games over after running out of moves, the playing experience may start to feel a little choppy. Overall, it's a fun game that's easy and interesting enough to be suitable for both young and older kids --but Toy Blast would be even more of a blast if kids didn't have to buy things for an uninterrupted playing experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. How much screen time is too much, even if you're playing a game that helps you work on things like logic skills? What are some other real-life activities you might enjoy?
The app occasionally offers some additional tools and shortcuts to help kids make matches faster. Why isn't this always an option in the real world? What kind of shortcuts can be helpful to get things done, and which might not be a good idea? Can you think of an example of a shortcut that might affect a situation negatively?
Talk about making purchases when using this app. Is buying something always necessary in apps that give you the opportunity to? Is it possible to have a fun experience without spending money in this and other apps?