Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Hawken Game Poster Image
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots, but free-to-play fun doesn't last.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Focuses on multiple corporate factions battling against one another to secure control of last resources available on a colonized planet. There's a sentiment of fighting for survival in harsh environment, but it's overshadowed by sense of greed corporations represent. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are no real "good guys," "bad guys." Players take sides piloting their mechs for a corporate faction, all vying to take control of planet's resources for survival, profit.

Ease of Play

Although basic mech controls are fairly straightforward, easy to use, managing various equipment, weapons, load-outs for multitude of mechs, as well as general maintenance of mechs, can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers.


Violence is nonstop, with players' mechs using realistic, futuristic weapons against each other. While there's no blood, gore, there's no shortage of damage, destruction caused by players' actions.


This free-to-play game includes a large variety of content available to purchase. Players don't need to buy items to get the most out of the game, but real money can be spent on everything from new mech models, equipment to exclusive cosmetic options. Also a number of books, comics available set in Hawken universe.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hawken is a downloadable, free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter where players fight each other in giant mechs on a distant planet. Players represent soldiers working for corporate interests, vying for control of scarce resources on the planet. There's not much character development outside of this, giving the game no real positive or negative messages. There's a certain level of complexity in crafting and customizing equipment, weapons, and so on for players' mechs. Once you're in the actual cockpit, though, the controls are fairly intuitive. Violence, while not particularly bloody, is nonstop, as the whole point is to eliminate opposing forces, and due to the game's online nature, kids could be exposed to offensive language from other players. The game uses a free-to-play model, offering a variety of cosmetic and gameplay additions to the game via real-money transactions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byriely s. March 7, 2017


hawken is a great game (says my 10 year old) he has recently purchased the free game off of the steam store. i have watched him play hawken and think it is suit... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamersnews32 May 15, 2019

Fun multiplayer but gets boring after a while, very quickly

I like PvP games like this, it brings true fun to online multiplayer. Though it is fun, it can get boring and repetitive fast. Violence is very mild, you are fi... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bysweetgamer_575 January 12, 2018

Great for kids!

This game has barely and violence and could be suitable for 5 and up but isnt very fun over a week!

What's it about?

In the dystopian future of HAWKEN, corporations are locked in a cutthroat battle against one another in a winner-takes-all war for control of the dwindling resources of the planet. To that end, the corporations have recruited mercenaries to pilot high-tech war machines in epic-scale combat. You are just the latest recruit to join those ranks, piloting your own mech, customized to fit your style. Whether it's a fast, light assassin mech with a long-range sniper rifle or a slow, lumbering tank on legs armed to the teeth with heavy-duty cannons and rocket launchers -- whatever you choose, it's up to you and your team of fellow pilots to take back the planet and leave your enemies in a heap of smoldering scrap.

Is it any good?

This futuristic robot-arena title is fun in doses, but eventually, the decision to either pay for gear or repetitively play for hours for the same item starts to drain the fun out of the game. Now, in video games, you might take the pedal to the metal in the driver's seat of a high-performance sports car one minute, and the next you're doing aerial acrobatics from the cockpit of a fighter jet. But neither of those activities can compare to strapping into the pilot's seat of a massive mechanized war machine, duking it out against your foes in an epic modernized version of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. At least, that's the premise behind Hawken, the free-to-play first-person shooter that's made the jump from PC to consoles. While the game makes the transition fairly well, it's still a bit rough around the edges. The real question is whether or not there's enough to keep gamers' interest and help them overlook some of those frayed bits.

On the positive side, there's no shortage of action in the game. Matches are fast-paced, brutally destructive battles that test all your skills as a pilot. Balance is important in Hawken, too, with each model of mech designed with a particular set of strengths and weaknesses. A light mech will never survive taking a heavy mech head-on, but by using your speed and keeping distance, you can chip away at that behemoth until it's ready for the recycle bin. But the free-to-play nature of the game is a bit of a mixed bag. Short of cosmetic additions, there's nothing in the game you buy with real money that you can't eventually unlock in the game. Unfortunately, that means you'll be spending a lot of time grinding in matches to get a good stable of playable options if you're not willing to shell out some extra cash to get access to those new items early. But you'll earn enough in trickles to always at least feel like you're making progress. The game's biggest hurdle is that it's starting to show its age a bit. Although the visuals have a realistic and gritty appeal, they aren't exactly pushing the limits of what consoles are capable of. Still, considering the entry price, Hawken is worth checking out if you're a sci-fi fan looking for a unique shooter experience to play with friends online.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. What is it that defines the realism of the violence? Is the impact of the violence reduced when the participants are locked inside large robots instead?

  • Talk about the economics of gaming. How does the free-to-play model compare to the more traditional retail model? Are you more likely to spend actual money to pick up the content you want, or will you wait to earn it through gameplay?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love shooters

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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