A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There's no specific messages broadcast in the game – even the campaign is designed to funnel you through duels and the social games in the lobbies.
Positive Role Models
You take on the role of a robotic character that has no real personality or goals, other than to face off against other players or robotic characters. Even the single player campaign concept is interrupted by pauses to "set up" matches, which just stretches out the scenarios.
Ease of Play
Gameplay is simple to grasp and easy to learn. But matchmaking is questionable at best, resulting in wildly mismatched duels on a frequent basis. The refresh of some weapons can also go slower than expected, sometimes leaving you without anything to defend yourself with.
Violence & Scariness
The point of the game is to use firearms or grenades to eliminate the health of your opponent. But these weapons cause bright visual effects without blood or gore (since you're fighting robots), and you're focused on ducking and dodging colorful orbs to be successful.
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Unmoderated play means that players can be exposed to inappropriate content. Players can at least mute or block other offensive players.
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Products & Purchases
There are banners for the developer and for a haptic vest company in every duel and arena.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some areas take place in a bar, where you theoretically are getting served some kind of drink, but you're a robot, so you can't actually be affected.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blaston is a virtual reality action game exclusively for the Oculus Quest. Players take on the role of robots in a futuristic dueling arena, facing off against each other with a variety of weapons. Play is easy to learn and grasp, although the game questionable matchmaking can cause you to face off against the same opponent multiple times in a row or fight a player that's clearly more skilled than you, resulting in lopsided contests. The timing on weapons being refreshed for use also tends to vary, possibly leaving you vulnerable to attack. You'll toss grenades, fire energy weapons, and shoot bullets of varying colors, but there's no blood or gore shown, and players can actively dodge out of the way to avoid contact with these projectiles. There's no profanity in the game's dialogue, although there are rooms and lobbies where conversation between players is unmoderated, possibly exposing players to inappropriate comments. Players will also see panels in arenas advertising the developer and a haptic vest company that works with the content found in the game. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content. Parents should also be aware that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.
Is It Any Good?
While getting into virtual gunfights can be amusing for a while, the shallow campaign and clunky matchmaking causes this game to mis-fire too often to be enjoyable. Blaston is a game with a very simple premise: you face off against another player or AI competitor to see who the best shooter is in two out of three rounds. There's a wide variety of weapons, which helps keep things fresh, just like the ability to shoot incoming bullets out of the air. It's also a lot of fun to imagine that you're Neo from The Matrix, physically ducking and dodging out of the way while returning fire. But play for a little while and you'll see the issues start to stack up. Matchmaking is horribly broken and unbalanced. When you're starting out, you may be matched up against more skilled veterans that can wipe you out with better weapons and duck behind better shields. Even worse, you'll get repeatedly matched up against the same player, even if there are plenty of other people online to fight against. It's not just competition you're scrambling against. In the middle of battle, you may have to wait longer than expected for a gun to reappear, leaving you defenseless. Plus, instead of putting weapons in your line of sight, they sometimes spawn behind you without onscreen indications of where they are, leaving you open to a shot in the back as you turn to search for them.
The recently introduced Campaign mode could've added a lot of depth, but it's very shallow. Here, you face off against a computer opponent with a slick intro that shows off what the game can do. But once you defeat your opponent, the game adds padding by forcing you to play random arcade games or darts in the lobby between rounds. It's unnecessary, it distracts from the dueling gameplay, and it highlights that there's not really a story or anything to keep you engaged. As a result, you'll probably hop in for a round or two against other players once in a while, but you may not stay long enough to become a Blaston veteran.
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.