A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Survival at all costs, only by killing things that mean to kill you.
Positive Role Models
Even if you try to be stealthy, you'll ultimately need to kill everything attacking you.
Ease of Play
Simple control scheme, but sheer amount of occasional bugs, brutal difficulty means steep learning curve.
Violence & Scariness
Players shoot aliens with variety of guns that can create eruptions of blood. It's cartoonish, but still unsettling.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Strafe is a downloadble first-person shooter. Players take control of a faceless, nameless grunt trying to survive an onslaught of bloodthirsty alien hordes on the spaceship Icarus. While there's a simple control scheme, the steep difficulty can frustrate even the hardcore shooter fan. Additionally, there's no objectionable content, apart from the geysers of blood that erupt from enemies when shot. While combat is the main focus of the game, the gore is cartoonishly presented.
Is It Any Good?
Given the rise of games with randomly generated levels, it's a surprise that more don't have sheer amount of issues Strafe has. Not that this is a broken game by any means, but it has a lot of unfair problems. Each session starts the same: You pick one of three weapons, dive into the teleporter, and begin to make your way running and gunning through levels full of enemies. But the hiccups even start there, as you can randomly stumble into an issue where the levels themselves wouldn't load. Even when you do land in a level, the chances of being able to survive and progress is, well, random.
A lot of this, surprisingly, has to do with the game's adherence to and great love for the old '90s graphics. In making such a great effort to make the game look old, the developers have forgotten things like how Doom and Quake also gave players a lot of audio clues -- the ability to hear enemies before you see them, and therefore the ability to start developing tactics for fights. But it's nearly impossible to tell the elevator wall panels from regular walls, which can leave you feeling stuck or spawned in a level with no escape or -- just as frustrating, with your back turned to a horde of enemies you had no idea were coming. Additionally, there are stations in levels to help give health or more ammo, but it isn't uncommon to see these cruelly generated beneath turrets or that they are exorbitantly expensive anyway. You can certainly have fun in Strafe, but you'll need a ton of luck and even more patience.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.