A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures is a browser-based online game in which kids encounter other players. This massively multiplayer online (MMO) game is free to play but gated. Free players are known as Padawans and subscribers are known as Jedi. Subscribers will have access to higher levels of mini-games, some premium mini-games, costumes, and additional housing known as Jedi Headquarters. The game is COPPA compliant and parental controls include barring children from forums, locking kids out of the game, as well as the ability to choose either Quick Chat (menu-based selection of words) or Safe Chat (which features a "white list" of words). Every action in the Parents Account requires a parental password.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Set in the same world as the Clone Wars Adventures TV series, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS ADVENTURES lets kids create an avatar and mix with others on a star base with several rooms as well as interactive objects and characters. Some interactions launch a short movie cut-scene in which an iconic character such as Anakin Skywalker will urge the player to protect the universe. Other characters exist simply for color, such as a couple of Clone Troopers telling each other bad "knock-knock" jokes, or as a gateway to the mini-games that make up the the main content of the game. Players' primary objective is to win trophies by scoring well in the mini-games and looking cool with the pets and outfits they buy with credits earned in-game or purchased with Station Cash -- the game currency bought with real dollars.
Is it any good?
Clone Wars Adventures is a browser-based game with excellent graphics. The mini-games are varied and fun, with some of them providing quite a bit of challenge at higher levels. There are tower defense, memory-matching, and spot-the-differences games as well as others that employ familiar elements inspired by popular casual games, such as Peggle and Bejeweled. Several games, such as Speeder Bike racing, are multi-player and allow players to challenge their friends. One of the most popular is Light Saber duels, in which the player depresses arrow keys as per onscreen cues and then watches the characters fight out the bout.
There are 19 mini-games at launch with 13 of them free to play. More content will be added over time. The game starts off as free but the higher levels are subscriber-only. Subscription also provides some premium content such as additional games, special outfits, and pets, as well as larger housing that kids can customize. Free players are called Padawans but subscribers are Jedis and kids will see a large "Become a Jedi" button on the top menu bar. Luckily, the $5.99 subscription fee is relatively inexpensive, and most items are priced at just 25 cents. Station Cash can be earned by kids via in-game achievements, so it is possible to obtain "cool" items without paying real money for them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about in-game war and violence. Without bloodshed is the violence somehow less offensive?
Families can also talk about dreams and reality. Players can create an avatar and develop a virtual life, which may make some kids want to play in this digital world all the time. Parents may want to discuss how to balance the real world with the imaginary world, and how to set limits for game time.
Families can talk about consumerism as it pertains to this game. Why do you think that you can play parts of this game for free? Players can also buy stuff online, but do they really need to have a particular virtual outfit that costs real money to buy?