A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Boid is a downloadable real-time strategy game, featuring both a free multiplayer game and a pay-to-play single-player campaign. The multiplayer allows for online typed chat between players, so standard safety precautions should be observed. The game structure is very simple: Create units and overwhelm enemy forces and bases to progressively move from one end of the two-dimensional map to the other. Victory is claimed by taking over all enemy bases and halting production of more units. This is a point-and-click game, requiring fast thinking. Think of this as a chess match played at high speed. There's mild language in the single-player campaign (which is approximately 10 hours long but can be played faster based on your speed. There are more than 30 maps available and a map-editor feature for those who wish to create more), and the meat-and-potatoes portion of the game is the online multiplayer.
What's it about?
BOID is a simple real-time-strategy game where superior numbers dominate. There's a backstory about drones being sent down from orbiting ships to terraform planets for human colonization and how one drone has crash-landed, triggering a war with alien life forms. It's a nice concept, but it's merely a tool for the action of the game. There are two kinds of units: crabs and scouts. The first is more powerful but slower, while the second is faster but less powerful. There are spawn points, which create more units, as well as turrets to shoot at incoming enemies. The goal is to spawn as many units as possible, then send them out to overwhelm and destroy enemy forces while flipping turrets and spawn points. The player (in the case of online) or side (offline campaign) with the most scouts and crabs wins. The strategic part comes with deciding how to move units, where to cast feints, and where to attack in force to cut off the enemy from repopulating.
Is it any good?
Bright and colorful, fast to play, and simple to navigate, this game is a pleasant and quick diversion. Boid has a great look, doesn't fool around with overly complex control schemes, offers enough challenges to keep it all lively, and offers three difficulty levels in the single-player campaign (which was just released) to keep even veterans of the RTS genre on their toes. There are ranked games, quick games, and custom games, lobbies to hook up with another player quickly, or the ability to invite a friend to a custom match. The single-player campaign plays exactly like the online game, except real opposing players are replaced with the computer, which can be somewhat predictable in the normal setting but quite challenging in the extreme mode.
Where Boid stumbles is in the repetitious gameplay. The formula is exactly the same in each game setting. If you have played it for several hours, it doesn't throw anything different at you to catch you unawares and give you reason to pause. While the action might be too fast-paced for younger players new to the genre, that's actually a solid aspect of the game. This isn't a rock-paper-scissors brand of game -- it's much more basic: The player with the most units spawned wins. Deciding when to keep spawning, how many units to throw into the game, where to deploy the units, and when to go all in is what gives Boid a bit of personality.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about strategy. What are the key elements required in strategy games for successful play? Can you use these same skills in real life?
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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.