A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Project Powder is a massively mulitplayer online snowboard racing game that monetizes by in-game purchases of game-enhancing items. While players can earn coins in the game that can be traded in for cash to buy items in the game's store (with 3500 coins worth $5 cash), players may wish to simply purchase the game-enhancing items with real cash instead. Purchased items are "rented" rather than bought and will generally last for only 4 weeks. Children under the age of 13 cannot register an account and parents registering an account for their children under 13 need to be aware that the forums (places to chat) are open forums without parental controls but which do have bad word language filters in place. One nice feature is the ability to create a race and password lock where parents and younger kids can have a private race game.
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What's it about?
PROJECT POWDER is all about competitive snowboarding. A player picks one of four free characters to play and learns to do tricks to gain points in a downhill race. Players start with 4 tricks that they can learn and get \"licensed\" in, in order to do gain points while doing those tricks in a race. Performing tricks during a race also builds up your speed boost bar. Experience is gained in participating in races against other players. As long as you don't finish too far behind the leaders you will gain some experience points and have a chance for some random gems that are used for gear enhancements.
There are three game modes: Race, Battle and Coin. In reality, they are all races, and can be played as a team or solo. The Race Mode is all about getting over the finish line first and gaining as many points as you can by doing tricks. Battle Mode adds items that you can pick up during your trip downhill which are defensive or offensive. These could be an ice lance to blast an opponent, a shield to deflect that ice lance, or any number of other objects. In the Coin Mode, you gather coins as you race with the goal of gaining the most coins possible so as to increase your in-game currency.
Is it any good?
Project Powder can be immensely fun as it couples skill and good judgment with competition. The courses are varied and challenging, but the game is forgiving in that it picks you up when you fall instead of having you wipe out. Also, you can hit the escape key to reset you back on course. The game is very easy to pick up, provides excitement with good visuals and matching music, and yet challenging to master. It takes time and practice as each course has it's areas for the savvy player to get extra "air time" to perform tricks. Outspark disallows accounts for children 13 and under, but with parental supervision, it can be a good game for children of about 9 on up.
As with other MMORPGs and competitive online games, players can form or join an in-game social group. Being a member of a "crew" can enhance game play. In-game events are scheduled often as are special events that award prizes, and frequent content updates such as new items and new runs keep the game lively for players.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about internet safety with their children. Making online friends and joining a crew can be fun but one must remain cautious about privacy. Why should you not give your personal information to others on the forums? Parents can also talk to their children about playing and learning about a game before they decide to spend money on items as boost gems are earned from playing the game. That is to say the items are "fluff" until the player has the gems to enhance them with.
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