Parents need to know that “Fortnite” is a survival action game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, and Mac. Players use strategic thinking, creativity, and forward planning to build fortifications while working with teammates to defend survivors and objectives from waves of enemy monsters. The game has a cartoonish style, and the violence, while persistent, isn’t bloody or particularly gory. The game does push players to make additional in-game purchases, though they’re not required to play the game. While the game doesn’t feature any profanity, its online nature could expose younger players to offensive language from random strangers in voice or on-screen text chat. Also, parents should be aware that a free to play multiplayer mode, called Battle Royale, supports up to 100 players fighting against each other or in teams to be the last player standing.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
“Fortnite” is about life after “The Storm,” an apocalyptic event in which 98 percent of the world’s population simply vanished — only to be replaced by hordes of zombie-like Husks. After stumbling onto and taking command of an abandoned high-tech shelter facility, it’s up to you to take charge of a group of brave heroes as they fight back against The Storm. Under your guidance, these heroes will gather precious resources, rescue survivors, and build a refuge from the lumbering armies of the undead. Along the way, you might just discover the source of The Storm and save all humanity in the process.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
This title carefully mixes some of the best parts of sandbox-building games together with the fast-paced action of a third-person shooter. The end result is a new and yet familiar experience that works exceptionally well … except for when it doesn’t. One minute, the game is firing on all cylinders and is an addictive dose of action and strategy that’s hard to put down. But then, the next minute, you find yourself buried in a myriad of confusing menus, awkward inventory management, and a lack of direction that leaves you scratching your head.
The actual matches in “Fortnite” are easily some of the most entertaining bits of gaming in recent memory. Running around the map, collecting resources, and building structures on the fly before whipping out an assault rifle to take out a group of zombies seems like it would be a complex process, but it actually feels like second nature. On top of that, the game’s presentation strikes a perfect balance of fun and creepy, with a lighthearted humor that’s as much fun to watch as it is to play. The only real problem comes during those moments between the action, when you have to deal with maintaining your characters, inventory, and so on. Eventually, through trial and error, you can fumble your way around until you learn the ins and outs, but it’s still a frustrating headache. Fortunately, it’s just one snag and it doesn’t affect the core gameplay too much. Before long, you’ll be back in the thick of things, building, shooting, and having a blast with friends, fighting The Storm and saving the world with a smile.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 13 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Educational value: 2 out of 5
Positive messages: 4 out of 5
Positive role models: 2 out of 5
Ease of play: 3 out of 5
Violence: 3 out of 5
Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 4 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
Developer: Epic Games
Release date: July 18, 2017
ESRB rating: T for Violence