A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Subway Surfers Tag is a fantasy arcade game, and doesn't have any messages embedded. It's meant to be a fun take on hoverboarding and tagging (spray-painting). That said, some parents may feel it will encourage kids to "tag" in real life.
Positive Role Models
While these young riders are having fun -- by zipping around levels, collecting coins and blowing up robots -- they are in fact "tagging" (spraying graffiti), which is is illegal in most cities. While it's a fantasy arcade game, some might say it does not make them good role models.
You can choose from one of a few different young riders, including male and female characters. One of them has a slightly darker skin tone.
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Ease of Play
Using the game's virtual control stick on iPhone or iPad (or a real one, if you prefer), you can control the "subway surfers" fairly easily -- but aiming and firing your paint can spray isn't as intuitive or precise. Same goes for the Apple TV and Mac versions of the game, which do require a controller.
Violence & Scariness
There are regular cartoon combat sequences, with robots blowing up or your human riders wiping out, but it's not graphic or bloody.
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Products & Purchases
The game is loosely based on the 2012 hit mobile game Subway Surfers, but there aren't any ads or promotional elements, nor are there in-app purchases (like any Apple Arcade game).
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Subway Surfers Tag is a downloadable action platformer for Apple Arcade. The game is part of a $4.99/month subscription that lets you play the game -- without ads or any in-game microtransactions -- on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. The game contains some infrequent cartoon violence as you're "firing" spray paint at robots, in order to destroy them, and they can inflict damage on your human hoverboard riders, too. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.
Is It Any Good?
It's not a bad game, but it's nowhere near as fun and engaging as the original. Players of Subway Surfers Tag will likely enjoy the feel of skateboarding/hoverboarding around the first park (trainyard) and checking off mission sets. You can select one of four different characters, each of whom have their own unique abilities: Jake has electric paint that chains to nearby enemies, Tricky has a fiery throw that explodes in a bigger area, Fresh's sonic wave blasts enemies away, and Yutani uses a slime ball that rolls through enemies like a boulder. It's also fun to earn coins and use them in the Upgrade Shop, spend points to open up new areas, and rack-up rewards for each Arena (location). The "dangling carrot" mechanic works, and you'll want to stick around to see what you can achieve.
But on the flipside, Subway Surfers Tag's gameplay is very basic, which may prove too easy and boring for more seasoned players (even though the combos and missions were boosted in a recent update, perhaps to make it more challenging). The guards now spawn earlier on maps, to imply more obstacles, but the simplistic combat and movement is still there. While the virtual controller works to accurately move your surfer around, aiming and firing your paint isn't as smooth or intuitive, and requires some trail and error to time things just right. While there are some differences in the Arenas, there isn't much variety in what you do for each map (perform moves, collect coins, blow up robots), so it feels repetitive after a short while. While many will applaud the developers for releasing a different kind of game instead of "Subway Surfers II," it's just not too polished, challenging, or memorable.
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.