A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can build digital creations and collaborate with friends. The game's tools aren't entirely intuitive, but with practice and dedication, players can leverage them to build not just objects, buildings, and entire worlds, but also games within the game, giving them a sense of what it's like to be a game designer.
The sandbox design promotes creativity, nudging kids to use their imagination to build novel objects and experiences. Text chat encourages players to freely communicate and cooperate.
Positive Role Models
Players will encounter plenty of other human-controlled avatars, some of whom will be helpful and cooperative, others of whom are bound to troll or otherwise work against the player or group's efforts.
Ease of Play
Confusing button mapping and tricky-to-access tutorials and objectives make learning how to play harder than necessary. But once players have a sense of the basics, it becomes easier to build and share content.
Violence & Scariness
Expect a lot of punching with oversized fists, mostly to break items down into collectible resources. Players can also equip themselves with a variety of weapons, including a shotgun and a rifle, to defend against enemies such as zombies and criminals. The graphics are very low-fidelity, and there's no blood or gore; enemies simply disappear, angel-like ghosts rising from their bodies.
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In-game text contains no profanity, though players may encounter swearing creatively crafted by other players to get around text censors.
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Products & Purchases
Players can spend hundreds of dollars in the in-game store, where special and unique items -- including clothing, building materials, world locks, and more -- are for sale. Even simple upgrades -- such as additional backpack storage space -- must be purchased with the game's currency.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In-game items include alcohol and tobacco products.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Growtopia is an online building game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Players inhabit two-dimensional worlds, harvesting resources to craft new things from hills and houses to complete worlds in which they can create games and stories. Depending on the worlds they create and visit and items they purchase, players may encounter some violence. Guns can be used to attack enemies such as zombies, but the graphics are very rudimentary and there's no blood or gore. Online play encourages kids to interact and cooperate with one another, learning from and being inspired by each other. Parents should be aware, though, that players are also encouraged to spend money -- and potentially a lot of it -- in the game's store, where they can buy everything from unique items and rare building materials to VIP passes and backpack upgrades. Note, too, that there's a steep learning curve at the start thanks to confusing button mapping and some difficult-to-follow tutorials and objectives.
Is It Any Good?
Hurdles must be overcome in order to have fun with this game, and some come with a price tag, with the first hurdle being the first hour of play. Growtopia begins by unceremoniously plopping players into a world with little in the way of easily accessible guidance (you need to figure out how to use the Growtopia manual in your inventory) and a strangely confusing control scheme that assigns unexpected functions to action buttons, triggers, and control sticks. But stick with it long enough and you'll overcome these quirks, at which point you may discover that it's actually pretty easy to harvest resources, build things, make doors, edit signs, and do all sorts of other fun creative stuff. Like other crafting and building games, the only limit to what you can create in this 2D sandbox is your imagination. And few such games make it easier to join up with and collaborate with friends -- even those playing on different platforms.
Unfortunately, you may soon encounter a second hurdle even steeper than the first: Money. While it's easy to build basic things (so long as you're willing to wait for the necessary resources to grow once you've planted them) the most tantalizing stuff costs money. There are dozens of packs and item sets that allow players to do everything from recruiting dragons and riding tiny horses to creating their own themed games and stories. Even some basic, necessary stuff -- such as expanding the very limited amount of storage in your backpack or using locks to safeguard your worlds from griefers -- has a price tag. Some players will be able to get away with spending only a little to sate their creative appetites, but others could wind up spending hundreds of dollars to access and obtain everything they want to be able to build with. Growtopia provides plenty of opportunity for players to create and cooperate, but it doesn't make it as simple or inexpensive as one might hope or anticipate.
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