A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn strategy and decision making as well as teamwork in Pirate101. The combat in this game is presented as if you were playing a board game. As kids progress, they have to select companion characters to go into combat with them, and that selection involves reasoning through what will make a balanced team. While kids will spend a great deal of time swashbuckling in Pirate101, this massively multiplayer online game also provides kids with opportunities to practice teamwork and strategic planning.
Pirates are portrayed as "cool" in this light-hearted game. Quests are all about helping someone or doing things for the greater good of the community.
Positive Role Models
Role models in this game are all pirate leaders and have their own codes of honorable conduct.
Ease of Play
Voiced tutorials take kids through the game and tool tips pop up as kids learn the game. Controls are simple and intuitive and the camera automatically swings in and out to focus on combat and actions. The game does become deeper and more complex as kids progress since the companion system provides a large number of different friends they can take into combat with them.
Violence & Scariness
Fantasy violence is one step removed as kids play out the conflict on a grid similar to a chess board by moving their characters to the square they wish to attack, then the computer takes over and the characters move into combat. Kids will see cannons, swords, and guns. Some attacks are magical in nature and look like shooting electricity. Some cutscenes show some swordsmanship. A fantasy creature attacks by letting go of droppings.
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This game is designed for kids and language is suitable. As an online game, chat is available but locked to menu chat and white list. Kids cannot see open chat.
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Products & Purchases
The game is free to download and play but kids may be tempted by the in-game shop as some items and bundles of items are cash only.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
It is hard to avoid mention of alcohol in a pirate world, but this game calls it "yum" instead. In the pirate's pub, kids play a mini-game of sliding glasses of "yum" down tables.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pirate101 is a massively multi-player online game (MMOG) set in a fantasy world involving funny, friendly, and engaging pirates where kids sail their ships in the sky. There is combat in the game (with no blood) and the safe chat is designed for kids. Parents can choose the level of the chat for their kids, from menu chat to text from a "white list" of safe words to 18+ open chat. Parents also need to know that kids will be firing guns and cannons or using magic (called "hoo-doo") in this fantasy game.
Is It Any Good?
This game will appeal to kids who have played the previous game by this developer, Wizard101, as well as kids who enjoy pirate movies such as Pirates of the Carribean. Created for kids who may have outgrown the previous game, Pirate101 has a different combat mechanic and the more "grown up" concepts of guns -- although the game is careful to tell kids right from the beginning that they fire electricity. Kids will assemble companions that complement their character and fight with them. Combat remains one step removed as kids move icons of their characters on a grid layout similar to a chess board and the computer plays the combat.
Pirate101 continually changes and adds content like any MMOG, giving players more things to do. Kids can choose to create characters as either girl or boy, in a variety of skin tones and can design and color their flags, ships, and decorate their houses. There are also mini-games and activities on the website that kids can do other than fight. Parents will find this a fun game to play with their kids, teaming up with them in combat.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.