Pathfinder Adventures

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Pathfinder Adventures Game Poster Image
Difficult digital card game ruined by troublesome bugs.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Doing good deeds, saving villagers, defeating criminals all positive actions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player characters are generally good, but morality isn't the point of their adventures.

Ease of Play

Tutorial doesn't cover all gameplay; deep rule set difficult to discover, absorb.

Violence

Combat is emphasized, but shown with playing cards.

Sex

Some female characters provocatively dressed.

Language
Consumerism

Additional characters, scenarios, items available for purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pathfinder Adventures is a downloadable digital re-creation of an existing tabletop game and comes in two versions: a free-to-play mobile app, and a paid PC game. Beyond the main game's asking price, extra cards, characters, and a story expansion are available at additional cost. Combat is part of the gameplay, but it's handled by cards, without anything shown. Some female characters are also dressed provocatively. Players should also be aware that the tutorial doesn't cover all elements of play, which could frustrate some people, especially newcomers to this kind of game.

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What's it about?

PATHFINDER ADVENTURES is a turn-based digital card game set in a fantasy world full of monsters and magic. Players create parties of heroic characters -- wizards, clerics, fighters, rogues -- and send them around a map where they find adventure, treasure, and oftentimes, death. Each character has its own set of cards representing weapons, armor, and abilities, and each explores the environment by drawing cards from an adventure deck. Quests must be completed before characters run out of cards (or "die") and within a set turn limit. The game's storyline draws from the tabletop game's Rise of the Runelords campaign, and features its locations and its characters.

Is it any good?

Some tabletop games work as digital adaptations and some don't; unfortunately, this one often falls into the latter category. It's not just that its single-player approach waters down the fun -- it's that the game literally doesn't work, due to game-stopping bugs and an inconsistent interface.

Things start strong, with a stable full of interesting and varied heroes to choose from and a decent tutorial that touches on the gameplay's main points. The tutorial ultimately fails, though, by not giving you a host of important information you need to win the scenarios. Worse still, the obscure interface makes things even fuzzier by lacking the sort of feedback you need to understand either the controls or the terminology. The result? Players new to Dungeons and Dragons-styled games will likely get stuck mere minutes after starting. And if the inconsistent controls and unresponsive menus don't make that happen, the game-freezing bugs will. Simple things like dragging cards can force you to close and restart the game -- not the kind of suspense you want from an adventure. On the upside, the artwork's not bad, the story intervals are fun, and you can pick from a handful of different looks for each of your heroes. Nice as that is, chances are you'll wish you'd saved your money and gone with the free version.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the social benefits of tabletop gaming versus solo digital play. Is there a reason why you might want to limit screen time and play the board game version instead? When would you want to pay the digital version?

  • Talk about teamwork. What makes groups of people with different goals try to work together? Can this be successful or is it doomed to failure?

Game details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love strategy fantasy games

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