A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ironfall: Invasion is a downloadable sci-fi third-person shooter with moderate violence. Players spend most of their time shooting futuristic rifles and guns, but campaign enemies are robotic rather than human and simply explode when destroyed. Players will go up against humans in multiplayer, but these enemies are "knocked out" rather than killed. There's no blood or gore. Parents also should note that this game is designed for online play, and that kids likely will play against strangers. But there's no support for voice or text communication, so kids aren't able to share any identifying information.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
IRONFALL: INVASION is a cover-based sci-fi third-person shooter, one of only a handful of shooters designed for Nintendo's handheld system. The campaign, wherein a group of human soldiers tries to ward off an alien invasion, closely recalls console-based shooters such as Gears of War in design and play but without any blood or gore. Players run along linear paths through 11 short stages, taking cover when facing groups of foes, climbing over objects, and choosing from a healthy selection of weapons those best suited for particular enemy types. Objectives generally entail clearing areas of enemies or finding important bits of data. An online multiplayer mode pits players against each other in small groups or free-for-all combat. Players can choose to bet some of the credits they earn in each match, with the jackpot going to the winner.
Is it any good?
Ironfall: Invasion plays better than one might expect from a handheld shooter but still has loads of room for improvement. The controls are unexpectedly intuitive and comfortable when played on a New 3DS (we don't recommend playing this game on a standard 3DS) thanks to its second control nub for camera control and extra shoulder buttons for reloading. Aiming is accurate, movement feels natural, and weapons are diverse (if a little generic). Little touches -- such as tapping a shoulder button at the right time while reloading to speed the cycle -- aren't exactly innovative but feel right. It even looks pretty good, thanks to a steady frame rate and some nice explosion effects.
But Ironfall: Invasion disappoints greatly in its dull level design, lackluster storytelling, and poor voice performances. The campaign is simply a journey through endless corridors from one point to the next, interspersed with narrative sequences where the human characters fail mightily to elicit any drama from what ought to feel like dire situations. It's about as emotional as watching stick figures read from a department store catalog. Ironfall: Invasion proves that the New 3DS can comfortably accommodate a third-person shooter, but that's about all it does.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. Shooting guns can generate feelings of aggression, regardless of whether players are targeting human character or if there's any blood, so how did you feel while playing Ironfall: Invasion?
Discuss online safety. Which steps do you take to protect your privacy when playing games online? What would you do if a stranger online asked for your real name or wanted to know where you lived?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Price: $9.99-$19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (A demo is available for free. Players will need to spend $10 to download the full campaign or $20 to download the campaign with multiplayer.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: VD-Dev
- Release date: February 26, 2015
- Genre: Third-person shooter
- Topics: Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Language
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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.