Reassembly

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Reassembly Game Poster Image
Ship-building sim lacks story, consistent multiplayer.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive messages. Whole goal is to annihilate enemies, harvest resources, build bigger and better ships.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No role models; you command a ship that doesn't have an identity.

Ease of Play

Challenging game, based on trial and error of building right kind of ships, fighting enemies in each sector of space.

Violence

Ships get smaller as they take damage, break up into strands of light when destroyed. Violence is minimal, even for a ship-based space shooter. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Reassembly is a downloadable space simulation where players are tasked with defeating computer or human opponents in spaceships. There's no inappropriate content; though there is combat, ships break into pieces before shattering into rays of light. One of the big elements of the game is the ship-building feature, which can take time (think, build, test, rethink, and retry), but this might be an area where younger players falter and need extended guidance; balancing ship design and combat can present a significant challenge to anyone.

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What's it about?

In REASSEMBLY you build ships using the ship editor, then fly about in a two-dimensional "space" to collect resources, destroy enemy ships, and free or activate bases. There are seven factions that have different combat characteristics. For example, some are more defensive and use lots of shields, while others use lasers, missiles, or other weaponry. Ships have two main criteria: mass and offensive firepower. Finding a way to balance the size (which can relate to the inertia of the ship when flying) of the vessel and its destructive capabilities can take time. And this is, of course, related to the faction and which elements are available per faction when designing a ship. The story in Reassembly isn't very well presented, but players can get the hang of the direction of the game quickly: harvest, build, explore, destroy enemies, recruit as necessary or create a fleet of ships.

Is it any good?

There's little doubt that Reassembly is an intriguing bit of gaming. It's somewhat reminiscent of old-school arcade spaceship-based shooters: It focuses on inertia elements, two-dimensional visuals, and spinning fire in a 360-degree arc type of gameplay with colorful but unrealistic graphics. The ship-building aspect is immersive, entertaining, and frustrating (but in a fun and good way, because you're building, testing, learning, and then adjusting your final machine). It's also quite challenging. Because of the depth of the ship-building experience, with the different factions that cater to different styles of gameplay (some lean more toward long-range attacks, while others are based on combat that requires maneuverability and getting in close to do big damage), this game has a lot of replayability.

The downsides are the lack of a true story line explaining what or why things are going on. Plus, though the multiplayer allows you test someone else's ships against your own (by importing other player's designs), the only real multiplayer comes in the form of developer tournaments, which happen at random periods in time. Even looking at the import features within the multiplayer window can be confusing. You can access your own computer, and the game will show other games on your hard drive, even if they lack ship designs. That's a bit odd. Though there are certain goals within the world that help to move players along in terms of unlocking elements, these are not explained well, and the on-screen prompts are minimal. Still, Reassembly will certainly cater to those players who like to construct their own ships and who enjoy the challenge of designing, tinkering, and testing in combat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in simulations such as Reassembly. Is the level of violence acceptable in this game because ships break apart into little segments? Is it OK because it's similar to classic arcade games?

  • Discuss spaceships. If you had the option to design and build spaceships, would you focus on weapons, defense, storage, or other features? Why?

  • Talk about how strategy is incorporated into the game world of Reassembly and areas of real life where strategy might be used to make things a bit easier. 

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