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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cycle is a free-to-play, online "Competitive Quest Shooter" available for download on Windows-based PCs. Players participate in large online matches, working to complete quests and collect resources while teaming with or defending against other players. The game's free-to-play, with various cosmetic items available for players to purchase via the in-game shop. While there's a heavy focus on shooting, it's surprisingly light on blood or gore, with defeated players locked in place trapped in a foam-like substance. Although there's no profanity baked into the game's dialogue, parents should be aware that its online and competitive nature could still expose younger players to offensive language via in-game chat.
What's it about?
Greetings Prospectors, and welcome to THE CYCLE! Fortuna III is a planet teeming with untold riches in the form of rare mineral and unique fauna and flora. As a freelance Prospector, your job is to explore the planet's surface, collecting material and data to fulfill contracts for different representatives of the Federation. Unfortunately, the alien terraforming technology that led the planet to serve as host to these valuable resources has also caused a catastrophic instability in its ecosystem. The planet is periodically battered by massive radioactive storms, covering the planet in radiation deadly to any non-native interlopers … interlopers like you. So you'd better get in, get what you need, and get out, making your way to the EVAC zone and returning with your completed contracts. Just remember that you're not the only Prospector on Fortuna III with contracts to fill. You might stumble across someone willing to lend a helping hand … or someone just waiting to stab you in the back. And at the end of the day, you've got to do it all over again. After all, we don't call this "The Cycle" for nothin'.
Is it any good?
Most shooter games rely on either racking up a high body count or, in the case of battle royale games, being the last person standing. The Cycle, though, isn't like most shooters. The game's main focus is questing, fulfilling random contracts within a set time, and getting to the dropship, making it back off-world in one piece. This makes for some interesting gameplay in practice. You might go an entire match never firing a shot at a fellow Prospector. In fact, you might form a pact with one or two of them to improve your odds of survival. Of course, human nature being what it is added to the competitive aspect of trying to top the leaderboard, you're just as likely to be hunted down as you are to be teaming up. While defeating other players doesn't score any extra points, it can eliminate some of the competition and also open up opportunities to swipe more resources, complete more objectives, and secure higher rankings at the end of a match.
Fortuna III makes for a colorfully diverse arena to compete in. The planet's a sort of patchwork of environments, thanks to the alien terraforming and the human exploration. One minute, you're harvesting mushrooms in a lush forest and the next, you're crawling through an abandoned mine tunnel to sneak past other Prospectors. You can even hitch a ride on a flying drill platform and scope out the competition from higher ground. There's a wide range of weapons and abilities at your disposal at any given time, assuming you've got the credits to spend for a supply drop. Each of these feels distinct and powerful, filling certain roles within your chosen playstyle. The Cycle manages to meld the best elements of competitive shooters with the best parts of RPG questing to provide a unique and fun twist on familiar formulas, carving out a niche for itself and paving the way for a whole new genre of online action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork and competition. Do you prefer to team up with other players to work toward a common goal, or to work alone and compete with others to test your abilities? What are the benefits to both?
What are some ways to handle confrontations in online multiplayer games like The Cycle? What are the advantages and disadvantages to starting conflicts with other players?
- Platforms: Windows
- Pricing structure: Free
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Yager
- Release date: August 19, 2019
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: RP for No Descriptions
- Last updated: August 28, 2019
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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.