Battleground Z

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Battleground Z Game Poster Image
Zombie-themed StreetPass game has cartoon bones and blood.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Unusually upbeat for a zombie game. Players spend most time in cartoon combat, usually with purpose of helping other characters. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player's Mii avatar appears happy to help people -- though that help typically involves lots of zombie combat. 

Ease of Play

Simple, intuitive action, though difficulty grows as players progress. The more Mii avatars players bring with them, the easier it is to win.

Violence

Players use random items -- a camera with a bright flash, a boom box that plays loud music, a sack, a Wii Remote -- to attack zombies. Defeated zombies explode with a flash, cartoon bones flying through the air. A green, goopy liquid is meant to represent zombie blood. Player's Mii can transform into a green-skinned zombie if defeated.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Battleground Z is a downloadable action game. It's the first StreetPass Mii Plaza game to receive an E10+ rating due to its fantasy violence and cartoonish green blood effects. Players use weird weapons, including a camera with a bright flash and a Wii Remote that gains a sharp edge when swung, to beat back hordes of green-skinned zombies. Defeated enemies explode in a burst of light, and white bones fly off in all directions. Players need to call upon other players' Mii avatars -- met via the Nintendo 3DS's StreetPass Mii Plaza app -- to play. StreetPass allows players to swap customizable Mii avatars, along with short text greetings that are censored for vulgarities but can potentially include snippets of personal information.

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What's it about?

BATTLEGROUND Z puts players' Mii avatars in the heart of an urban zombie apocalypse. When players encounter another Mii avatar via the Nintendo 3DS's StreetPass feature, they earn the opportunity to play one of a couple dozen Battleground Z stages set in malls, football stadiums, back alleys, and parking lots. The Mii they encounter will provide a weird weapon of some sort -- perhaps a sack or a boom box that belches deadly musical notes -- that they can use to destroy zombies en route to accomplishing various objectives, such as finding tires for a getaway car, tracking down a lost dog, or escorting other Mii avatars to safety. Additional Mii avatars encountered prior to a play session -- up to 10 -- typically appear scattered around the stage, providing additional weapons or offering to tag along to help fight zombies. Tickets, used in the SteetPass ticket booth for hats and costumes, are earned as players meet certain milestones, such as defeating a total of 500 zombies. Battleground Z is available only online through the StreetPass Mii Plaza app.

Is it any good?

Battleground Z follows the StreetPass Mii Plaza game formula established in 2012 by Mii Force, only instead of blasting aliens in a spaceship, players spend their time whacking zombies on city streets. As in Mii Force, the weapons each Mii avatar offers up depends on the color of the shirt their human creator chose for them to wear. Completing bonus objectives -- such as finishing a stage without damaging your weapon -- grants players additional points and coins. And players can view a leaderboard that shows their ranking on each stage compared to those of other Mii avatars they've met. It will all be very familiar to anyone who played Mii Force. The largest problem with the game is that it's just not very substantial; though it's fun for a few minutes, after a few rounds you're quickly wanting more -- more depth, more content, more of anything else to sustain and expand the gameplay.

That said, Battleground Z ends up being a little more entertaining. The zombie combat is actually a lot of fun, the weapons are meaningfully different from one another (the short-range, broad-angle flash camera feels nothing like the Wii Remote weapon), and the setting and story are surprisingly engaging and effective. It's about as close as StreetPass Mii Plaza has come to giving players a traditional action game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. When you encounter zombies in games, do you think of them as monsters or as people who became monsters? Is there a difference?

  • Talk about online safety. Since it's still possible to send and receive small amounts of identifying information from strangers with StreetPass, what would you do if you encountered a Mii avatar with a greeting that revealed a player's name, address, or other personal information?

Game details

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