CodeCombat Game Poster Image

CodeCombat

(i)

 

Defeat enemies with your newly learned programming skills.
  • Platforms: Mac, Windows
  • Price: Free to try, free for teachers, $4 per student on time fee
  • Genre: Educational

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn the fundamentals and more advanced principles of coding by writing commands to control on-screen characters. By doing so, they'll complete levels of challenging code, combat, and puzzles. This learn-by-doing approach helps keep kids motivated and shows them how a little code can go a long way. Eventually, though, gameplay can get complex, and kids might need some help, which is OK; even the best programmers need help from time to time with elaborate code. Fortunately, there's detailed help available through the game's help system. As a whole, CodeCombat is a great way to get kids thinking about computer programming.

Positive messages

Coding challenges focus on combat. For some, the emphasis on killing bad guys instead of teamwork, other positive themes might not translate as appealing.

Positive role models

As a swords-and-sorcery title, CodeCombat sticks close to the good-vs.-evil script. Why do these characters fight? It's never clear. But you assume the other side has it coming. 

Ease of play

Walkthrough of tutorial levels makes learning basics easy. As challenges increase, so does the complexity of the code. But detailed how-tos walk players through tricky code, concepts.

Violence

Funny cartoon style hides the fact that this game is fundamentally about killing other cartoon characters.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Technically, teens can program on-screen characters to say naughty things, but nothing encourages (or prohibits) this kind of behavior.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that CodeCombat is a Web-based swords-and-sorcery game in which players explore and use programming languages to win. Using JavaScript, Python, and other programming platforms, players command their on-screen warriors into action, making them move around, engage in battle, and blast enemies. Keep in mind that the game may frustrate players with little programming experience or those in need of quick answers to programming questions. Some tweens may find that this game is a bit too advanced for them, even with the complete tutorials and level walkthroughs. The game rewards clean code and elegant solutions. If you write buggy code or fail to learn how to create more elegant programming solutions, your warriors will wander about aimlessly until they're destroyed. As a result, players may need to invest in trial and error (and some code study) if they expect to win.

Kids say

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What's it about?

Set in a medieval land of knights, ogres, wizards, and warriors, CODECOMBAT skips most of the mythical narrative to get right to the task at hand: defeating your opponent. Players write short JavaScript, Python, or other featured programs that instruct characters on where to walk, what to do, and when to fight. Learning to code new behaviors makes the player more effective, whereas simply writing scripts that send warriors screaming into battle usually ends up in a messy loss.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

At its best, this programming game integrates JavaScript, Python, and other coding so effortlessly that players will be programming before they know it. CodeCombat will motivate kids to want to learn more about computer programming, but it also focuses on writing programsWithout some additional support and training, don't expect to take your CodeCombat programming skills and create the next hit iPhone app. The important principles of coding and the syntax of the various included programming languages are an important first step in leading the life of a coder. And this is where CodeCombat excels.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how programmers create the behavior of characters in video games such as CodeCombat. Do you think it's easy to create unique traits for characters in games? How easy would it be to change these characteristics once you learn how to program?

  • How does solving a problem, such as beating a game level, force you to approach it in separate parts? Can this apply to every problem, or are there some problems that can't be broken into pieces?

  • The game includes multiple languages you can learn. Why learn one language over another? What is similar or different about the various program languages included in the game?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Subjects:Arts: playing
Hobbies: building
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, defining problems, hypothesis-testing, logic, problem solving, solving puzzles, strategy, thinking critically
Creativity: combining knowledge
Self-Direction: achieving goals
Emotional Development: persevering
Communication: asking questions
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
Price:Free to try, free for teachers, $4 per student on time fee
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Free (Kids can play the game for free. The subscription unlocks additional content and powers that makes playing the game easier.)
Available online?Available online
Developer:CodeCombat
Release date:June 8, 2014
Genre:Educational
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
ESRB rating:NR

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byphishjeremy July 8, 2016

Excellent way to learn coding

This is a great game that teaches students how to code in Python or in JavaScript. The company and support staff there were exceptional at helping me set up a class. They were responsive and great at their jobs. My students learned a ton of programming in a 4 day camp, and they had fun doing it!
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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