A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rocket Arena is an online multiplayer competitive third-person shooter game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. Competing in two-versus-two and three-versus-three team-based matches, players select from a variety of competitors, using their unique rocket launcher weapons and special abilities to wear down opponents and blast them out of the arena. Although the game features constant action and lots of explosions, there's no blood or gore. Defeated opponents simply fly back into the arena and continue the battle. There are a lot of cosmetic skins and items to unlock in the game, many available to purchase from the in-game store. Parents should also be aware that the game features online voice chat, which could expose younger players to potentially offensive conversations from others.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
Welcome to ROCKET ARENA, a three-versus-three competitive shooter where high explosives are second nature and getting knocked out is just a chance to get your second wind. The world of Crater is home to the epic Rocket Arena tournament, bringing together a diverse mix of challengers from all over the world competing to win the prestigious title of Rocket Arena Champion and the golden trophy that comes with it. Using their unique abilities along with their custom rocket launchers, competitors battle each other in one of five different team-based matches, from scoring the winning goal in a round of Rocketball to blasting the competition from the arena in Knockout. Players will take part in death-defying mayhem, but without that pesky "death" part. Instead, competitors knocked out of the arena simply fire up their jets and fly right back into the action. Whether you hold your ground or take to the skies, prove you've got what it takes to lead your team to victory and earn the glory that comes with being Champion.
Is it any good?
There's a well-worn phrase that says "Familiarity breeds contempt," which basically means that if you get too familiar with something, you sort of lose interest or respect for it. At first glance, Rocket Arena looks like it might be the poster child for the phrase, as it seems to borrow a lot of elements from other games and toss them all together hoping to see what sticks. There's an immediate sense of déjà vu as it's hard to avoid the feeling that this is something that's been played a million times before. But Rocket Arena somehow manages to piece together these familiar elements in a way that feels like a new twist on popular formulas, while also keeping some surprisingly unique tricks up its sleeve.
It'd be easy to dismiss the rocket launchers in Rocket Arena as little more than a gimmick, but after playing a few rounds, you see just how much potential they have. The tutorial even teaches moves like rocket jumps and rocket climbs as essential basics. And in practice, combining these moves with double and triple jumps is likely to save a player's skin on multiple occasions. Maps that seem claustrophobic at first wind up feeling just the right size to contain the frantic 3v3 action, offering up a surprising number of nooks and crannies to take advantage of. The different game types offer up some variety to the gameplay and strategy, and none are overly time-consuming. Live service has become a staple of the multiplayer marketplace these days, with things like season passes and extra content constantly added to keep players' interests ... and to keep their wallets open. Rocket Arena is no different, with a season pass and lots of cosmetic goodies to unlock or to buy in the shop. But whether you choose to stick with the game as-is or expand the customization via the shop, Rocket Arena is a literal blast to play and plenty of party-style bang for your buck.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Rocket Arena affected because of the lack of blood and gore in the game? What are some of the ways that violence is portrayed in gaming? Does a cartoonish style of violence like Rocket Arena has, with big explosions but no blood or death, still have an impact on younger audiences?
What are some ways that gaming can possibly reinforce positive and negative approaches to teamwork or sporting behavior? How can games help to teach kids to work together?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Electronic Arts
- Release date: July 14, 2020
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Superheroes, Adventures, Pirates, Robots
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: July 27, 2020
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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.