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What's it about?
VAINGLORY is a hugely popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game where players control a hero and (with the help of two to four player allies) fight against a team of enemy heroes to destroy their base. The battle takes place along paths called "lanes" that connect the two opposing bases. Players compete for control of useful resources found along these lanes, such as gold mines and health/weapon buffs. Everything's done with simple tap controls: attacking, buying power-ups, and using special abilities. Strategy and teamwork are key to success, and practice levels let players hone their skills against AI-controlled opponents before going online to challenge actual players. Players are encouraged to collect and play a range of different heroes, each with unique looks and special abilities. A recent update adds five-vs.-five (5v5) multiplayer, Fog of War, Vain Crystal defenses, a new three-lane map called Sovereign's Rise, new jungle monsters, and powerful dragons that spawn mid-game. The game rewards players for civility, but in-game chat can still be used by some players to taunt or verbally abuse other players.
Is it any good?
In many ways, this MOBA is as much fun as its PC competitors, but as with any game played with real people, there's a high potential for abuse. Vainglory is certainly more accessible: Its comprehensive tutorial spells out all the basics, and its diverse range of characters caters to every kind of player. The graphics, artwork, and animations are all top-tier, and the game plays well even on older devices. With Vainglory becoming increasingly prominent in the world of esports, casual matches can contain pro-level players who regularly trounce newer players, and that can be discouraging. Worse still, inexperienced players and losing teams can receive harassing messages from opponents and teammates alike.
The new 5v5 mode with its three-lane map ups the competitive ante even more, since it adheres more closely to the larger esports-level standard. The new mode also cranks the difficulty up a notch, requiring a greater degree of teamwork, more familiarity and skill with hero abilities, and a thorough understanding of individual player roles. Chat isn't a prominent part of the game, but since players do use it to share personal information, teens should understand what's OK -- and not OK -- to share. Even with the chat risks and the added complexity of 5v5 mode, Vainglory remains a fun, friendly, accessible way for new players to experience MOBA gameplay.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork, sporting behavior, and online gaming with other real-world players. How can you be a good teammate and gracious winner (or loser) when you're playing behind a username? What's the best way to react to other players being mean teammates or sore losers?
Talk about staying safe online. What is OK to share in a chat with a stranger during a game, and what should stay private?
Discuss violence in the media and the type of violence featured in the game. Do the graphics and lack of gore make a difference? Why or why not?
Talk about the portrayal of women in games and other media. This game has female heroes, but they aren't wearing battle armor. Why are they scantily clad? What should they be wearing in the context of the game?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (with optional in-app purchases)
- Release date: February 13, 2018
- Category: Action Games
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures
- Size: 1750.00 MB
- Publisher: Super Evil Megacorp
- Version: 3.0.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
- Last updated: October 23, 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.