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 Root is a downloadable third-person science-fiction arcade shooter. Piloting a nimble, hovering ship that’s armed with an endless supply of bullets and bombs (and occasionally some kind of special weapon), you have to destroy enemy targets while defending yourself from other ships, tanks, and surface-to-air missile batteries. But though this has you unleashing a steady stream of ammo, Project Root has a decidedly old-school approach, as the entire game is played from an aerial perspective and is thus bloodless and largely devoid of the brutality of more modern shooters.
What's it about?
In the future world of PROJECT ROOT, the Prometheus Corporation is the leading provider of energy. But this cheap energy comes at a price: People have lost their lives and their homes, while the environment has become polluted or otherwise decimated. That’s where you come in. Playing as Lance Rockport, one of the people who saw his childhood neighborhood destroyed by Prometheus, you use your F72 Zonda aircraft to strike back at the company and its equally uncaring CEO, Demetrio Watts. Using simple arcade controls, you use an endless supply of bullets and bombs to destroy their heavily fortified installations while defending yourself from tanks, surface-to-air missile batteries, and other aircraft.
Is it any good?
For fans of old-school arcade shooters, Project Root is flawed but fun. Your ship is nimble, your weapons are effective, and both can be upgraded, along with your shields, between each mission. You'll even be able to grab mid-mission power-ups that can repair your ship, temporarily boost your shields, or give you special weapons such as swarming missiles, a powerful laser beam, or an EMP pulse that temporarily deactivates your enemy’s weapons. All these weapons will be put to the test by both the variety and sheer number of enemies you'll face. Your missions also are varied and set in open battlefields that encourage you to explore, looking for secondary targets and other enemies to destroy.
Project Root is not without its problems, though. For starters, some of the sound effects are rather bland; exploding ships sound more like they're going "pop" than "BOOM!" Even worse, the game tells its story through low-rent-looking comic book-style pictures with no voice-overs. It also doesn't help that, in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, the text in those comic panels, as well as in the prompts you see during the training mission, is so small that you won’t be able read it if you sit at a reasonable distance from your TV. And it’s only slightly better if you play the Vita version. Even worse, while a green arrow near your ship indicates where your main objective lies, it's so small and such a light shade of green that it’s hard to see, especially when you're flying over a forest, as you do in your first mission. All of which sometimes makes it hard to know where you're supposed to go and what to do once you get there. Even with these flaws, Project Root is still lots of fun, especially for old-school shooter fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. In the game, you fight a bad CEO and the people who follow him, so is it ever OK to kill people if they’re evil? What if they’re not evil, but their bosses are?
Talk about putting people over profits. Though it's not bad to make money, it's bad to hurt people, so how do you balance the two? Do you believe the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few -- or the one?
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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.