A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game is very light on story, but the cooperative nature of the gameplay encourages teamwork and communication. Several of the encounters allow you to pick positive outcomes to multiple choice scenarios and depict good familial relationships.
Positive Role Models
While there aren't any noteworthy characters, some events and cards show different bandmember's parents providing loving support to their children's musical careers.
The game allows you to create characters of many different racial backgrounds for your musician. These musicians are mostly gender neutral, and all share the same body type.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Ease of Play
The game mechanics will be familiar to fans of the deckbuilding genre, which sees you managing and upgrading a set of cards that represent your musicians' actions. Strategies become increasingly complicated as the tour continues, and managing your other bandmates decks adds a bit of complexity. The tour mode is challenging, and you should expect to lose matches somewhat often.
Products & Purchases
Battle Bands is a new franchise without a history of merchandise or other products, but the game does provide options to spend additional money on time-limited cosmetic options for your musicians.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Battle Bands is a cooperative deck-building strategy game available for download on Windows PCs. The game has you control a rock band touring a battle of the bands circuit, where each musician uses a deck of cards that represents their contributions to the song. You can take your band on the road in a randomized co-op campaign or participate in online 64-band tournaments. The game mechanics will be familiar to fans of the genre, but advanced strategies may be hard for younger players to figure out on their own. There's nothing inappropriate about the game content, although players can spend real money on cosmetic items for their musicians.
Is It Any Good?
Roguelike deckbuilders are no longer a new sensation, but the addition of cooperative elements helps this strategy title stand out from its peers. The core mechanics of Battle Bands draw inspiration from the card-battling systems of Slay the Spire, but the switch from controlling a single character to manipulating a band of four musicians provides an interesting new angle. The game naturally lends itself to multiplayer in a genre that tends to be solo experiences. You can jump into a randomly generated co-op tour mode to compete against NPC (non-player character) bands, or jam out versus other players in scheduled online tournaments. If you can't form a full group of four human players, AI handles the other musicians. Players make all of the decisions regarding the construction of the AI's decks, and can give basic instructions during the fights, but most gameplay portions will require reacting to and playing around the AI's choices. This can lead to moments of frustration when your bandmates play cards with timing that doesn't work with your plans.
Once you adjust to working with the AI, the strategic elements in the battle-of-the-bands fights shine. Every fight starts with a target number of "hype points" that need to be reached to win the competition, and bands take turns assembling songs to generate hype points or subtract from the other band's hype total through Song Section and Performance cards. Song Sections allow bands to play Performance cards on top of them, and each Performance and completed Song Section accumulates hype, attacks the other bands resources, or protects your own. Between performances, musicians can get, upgrade, or remove cards from the decks and and buy items that provide bonuses for the whole band. Rival bands in the tour mode can be very challenging, and require understanding how to use all of these elements to succeed. The random strategic elements may confuse younger players when things get more complicated. But more experienced players are likely to have a great time with this deep, unique musical deckbuilder.
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.