A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn thinking and reasoning skills, teamwork. Mini-games that kids play in-game involve pattern matching, memory, strategy, and decision-making. While kids spend a lot of time dueling, they also use their imagination by decorating their home, crafting.
Game is all about learning and adventuring. In-game cartoon teachers are helpful when assigning you quests, explaining why they're important.
Positive Role Models
Players create their own character, so their interactions with other players govern what kind of character they play as. But they learn by playing the game that working with others can be helpful to winning the game and that you don't always have to game alone. The in-game teachers are good role models.
Ease of Play
Easy to play with lots of tutorials, but younger players may need help completing some quests.
Violence & Scariness
Features cartoon violence where enemies are blasted by magic, but no blood or gore is shown. Defeated characters collapse in various ways and simply disappear (e.g., a skeleton falls apart and disappears).
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In-game chat is controlled by quick chat choices easily accessed via icon and menu system. Free-form chat is available but even these (and the forums) are heavily moderated, boast a stringent automatic language filter. Some crude humor involving farts.
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Products & Purchases
Gamers playing for free will encounter areas that are locked; players are asked to go to the website to unlock them by paying a fee. Subscription options range from $6.95 a month per account for family plans to $9.95 a month for standard subscriptions, from $49.95 for six months to $79.95 for a year.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wizard 101 is a downloadable massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for kids set in a fantasy world involving wizards and playable on Windows PCs. Players duel using magic spells, some with crude humor referencing farts. Wizard 101 is COPPA compliant, and there are several ways to pay for this game. The initial download is free and there are free areas to try out, but players are enticed to spend money on fun vanity items and exclusive content. Access to content can be gained with in-game currency (bought with real-world cash) or subscription; family plan subscriptions cost $6.95 per month (per account) and general subscriptions go for $9.95 per month. Players can also opt for six-month or yearly subscriptions at $49.95 and $79.95, respectively. Game gift cards are available at various retail outlets, and parents can use these to create reward systems for kids. Cartoon violence is included as players duel each other and fight monsters with spells, but defeated enemies disappear.
Is It Any Good?
The year 2018 marks the online wizard school's 10th anniversary, and it's come a long way since it began. In addition to introducing new locations, Wizard 101 has added tons of new items, stories, and activities for kids to enjoy. Kid wizards get to explore cool themed worlds offering glimpses of Ancient Egypt, Steampunk Space, the Middle Ages, the African savannah, a rival school (Pigswick Academy), and more. These fun, colorful locations are designed for maximum adventure and include complex four-player dungeons full of challenging bosses and narrative surprises. Though playing alone is totally possible, group play is easy because players can automatically join one another's battles. The community as a whole is friendly and helpful to new players, but if it has an off day, players can rely on a strict profanity filter and block settings to protect their enjoyment.
Higher levels can require lots of repetitive resource farming (for gold, gear, and crafting materials), which can tempt players to spend lots of real-world cash to minimize this boredom. Still, there's tons to do. Kids who get tired of questing can spend hours crafting items, improving their homes and gardens, or enjoying the two latest additions to the game, Monstrology (the collection of various monster essences) and Photomancy (taking screenshots and character selfies). Even better, the game underwent a complete graphic overhaul and looks better than ever. Magic-loving kids will love Wizard 101, and parents looking for a good value in quality, kid-friendly entertainment will be hard-pressed to find something better.
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.