Battletoads

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Battletoads Game Poster Image
Amphibious action heroes are back, warts and all.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although players can work together as a team to overcome obstacles, the main point is to beat up anything that moves. The Battletoads' main motivation to fight isn't for anything more than trying to regain their lost fame and popularity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Battletoads all have extreme personalities, often acting in outlandish ways. They are the heroes of the game, but they're almost heroes in spite of themselves, more concerned about recapturing lost glory than saving the galaxy.

Ease of Play

Steep difficulty curve. Various enemies have to be taken out using specific strategies and attacks, which can be difficult when the screen is filled with action. Also, turbo bike stages start off slow but quickly pick up to a breakneck speed. Checkpoints help to keep players from losing too much progress.

Violence

Game is filled with violence, but it's more of a slapstick, Saturday morning cartoon style of violence. The defeated simply disappear from the screen, and defeated players are usually replaced immediately with one of the reserve 'Toads.

Sex
Language

Some mild language ("damn") and other offensive lines. One cutscene shows the Dark Queen taunting the Battletoads by calling them "stinky butts" and flipping them off with a blurred-out middle finger.

Consumerism

The game is a revival/reboot of a franchise from the '90s.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the Topian enemies is shown in some cutscenes drinking a martini.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Battletoads is a beat-'em-up action game available for download on Xbox One and Windows-based PCs. The game is a revival of the Battletoads game series from the early '90s, serving as both a sequel to prior games and a new starting point for the franchise. This is an arcade-style action game, with players constantly beating up waves of enemies in a side-scrolling environment, with some other gameplay elements such as quick time events, riding hover bikes, and platforming. Violence is constant, though it's more cartoonish and slapstick in nature. There's some occasional crude humor and language, but no profanity outside of the word "damn." One of the main antagonists is occasionally shown drinking what appears to be a martini.

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What's it about?

The BATTLETOADS are back! It's been 26 years since the universe last heard from Zitz, Pimple, and Rash. That is, until a bit of construction finds that the trio have spent their time unknowingly buried in a bunker and living fantasy lives filled with fame and fortune in a virtual simulation. Returned to the real world, the 'Toads quickly realize that they're no longer the iconic action stars they used to be. After being forced to take on everyday jobs and eke out a mundane life, the former heroes concoct a plan to track down their old nemesis, the Dark Queen. The "frenemies" come together to make a stand against an even bigger threat to the universe and maybe recapture the celebrity status of their glory days in the process. The game combines the old-school Battletoads attitude with new, hand-drawn animation. Players will take on the Topian forces solo or team up with a couple of friends in drop-in/drop-out couch co-op play for up to three players. It's over-the-top intergalactic arcade action done as only the Battletoads can.

Is it any good?

It's hard to believe that it's been more than two and a half decades since the Battletoads last graced the gaming world. But now the classic beat-'em-up is back, reinventing itself for a new generation of gamers while bringing with it all of the attitude, humor, and difficulty that made the series such a cult classic. Of course, these are also all the qualities that made gamers either love or hate the original, which carries over to the new game, as well. Die-hard fans will probably love what the new game has to offer, while the haters from back in the day won't find anything here to sway their disdain.

Battletoads is oozing with personality, and its new hand-drawn look is fantastic. It's almost as if players are watching a weekday afternoon cartoon from the '90s. In fact, the whole game feels like a time capsule from the era of fanny packs, Furbies, and all things "extreme." The game acts almost as a parody of itself with its mix of juvenile humor and self-deprecating one-liners. The original game was well known for its frustrating difficulty, and that's still present in the new game as well. Whether it's fending off a screen full of enemies attacking from every direction or zipping through a twisted high-speed obstacle course on a hover bike, making any substantial progress can be difficult to the point of frustration even on the "Tadpole" difficulty. It doesn't help that many stages seem to linger beyond their expected shelf life. While most stages start with an eager feeling of wanting to see what's coming next, they normally end after a period of questioning "Is it over yet?" But a lot of this changes if you manage to pull a friend or two into the action with the drop-in/drop-out couch co-op feature. It's then that the game really shines, with gamers reliving the nostalgia of friends huddled in front of the TV or at the arcade, backing each other up and laughing together while still reaching for that ever elusive high score.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Battletoads affected by the cartoonish nature of the game? How can over-the-top and cartoonish violence, such as the slapstick style commonly used in cartoons, affect younger audiences? Would it be intensified if the violence was more realistic?

  • What's the appeal of bringing back classic games to new audiences? What's the nostalgic appeal of some classic games, and what are some games that you think should be revisited for new generations?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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