Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Smurfs and Co: Spellbound - Ubisoft

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Short takes

This is a building game in which the player rebuilds the Smurf village. Caution:in-app purchases, online interactivity, gambling devices, advertising, substance use.

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Contains some elements of gambling

This review of The Smurfs and Co: Spellbound was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 February 2014.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: The Smurfs and Co: Spellbound
Developed by: Ubisoft
Platform reviewed: Facebook
Developer’s suggested age: Facebook 13+
ACCM suggested age: 18+ due to in-app purchases, online interactivity, gambling devices, advertising, substance use.
Gambling content advice: Contains some elements of gambling. This game may contain devices which mimic those found in a casino; but the player is not risking something of value to play. Refer to the gambling section of this review for further details

ACCM review

This review of The Smurfs and Co: Spellbound contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

Levels 1-7

App description

This is a building game in which the player rebuilds the Smurf village.

Reviewers comments

The game begins with the Smurf village being swamped by a magical storm accidentally cast by a spell, which leaves everything it touches frozen in stone. One Smurf remains (the player), who must rescue the others and rebuild the village. The game shows players what they need to do. The player starts with an allocation of blue favours and must complete tasks such as unlocking blocks of land, clearing sticks and vines, building houses and growing food.  On completion of the tasks the player receives a reward - it may be a combination of blue favours, red favours, coins, Smurfiness, XP stars, gems and other items. The player uses up energy to complete tasks – when it runs out, they can replenish energy by asking friends, using gems to buy an energy kit or they can wait, as energy is topped up over time.  Red and blue favours, Smurfiness and energy can all be bought with gems. Gems can be bought with real money. There are many additional items which can be bought with gems which will assist the player. Occasionally potions become available for the player to use for specific purposes, for example to make it night time. The accumulation of XP stars increases the player’s level. On moving up a level, the player can play “Smurf Spin” – players receive one free spin on which they will win a useful prize. Additional spins can be bought with gems. Players can visit the villages of friends who they have invited to play.

Most tasks can be sped up using gems or Smurfiness. Some tasks are very slow to complete.   A number of the tasks are not able to be completed without either using gems or asking friends for help, for example to help complete a building or give them required items.

In App purchasing

Players can purchase gems for US$2 to US$100. Special deals for gems and other useful items are frequently offered, often for a limited time. Player can sign up to be a VIP Smurf and receive benefits like extra gems each day, special sales offers and items, special avatars and more. The cost is US$3.99 for 30 days as a Regular VIP and and US$9.99 for 30 days as a Deluxe VIP.  Purchasing in Facebook games can be by debit card, credit card and Paypal. Players can redeem Facebook gift cards. There is also the option to charge smaller purchases to a mobile phone account, however a significant fee is added when using this method. The mobile phone purchase transaction screen states “Customers under age 18 must have account holder's permission”. A text message is sent to the mobile number entered to confirm payment.  Parents should be aware that if they enter credit card details, the player can make more than one purchase. On making a credit card purchase, players are advised that “Facebook will save your payment information for future purchases. You can always remove or manage this information in your account settings.”

Online information

When the player plays this game through Facebook, the app receives their basic information and it can post to Facebook on the player’s behalf. It is possible for players to edit who can see the posts. Players are encouraged to invite friends to play. Players can visit the villages of their friends. Some activities require asking friends for help, otherwise the player must spend gems to complete it. A few of the activities are very difficult to complete without inviting friends. Players can join a League which their friends belong to or create their own Leagues with friends when they reach level 8.

Gambling

When the player moves up a level, they get a free spin on the “Smurf Spin”, a device which resembles a slot machine. Players receive one free spin, which spins the first reel and they win that prize. Players can spend 5 gems to spin the second reel.

Advertising and product placement

Parents should be aware that games played in Facebook, depending on the device, may have a panel at one side of the screen which has several sponsored links, effectively ads. These could be for products (e.g. posters), other games (which may include war games) and religious messages.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

To free Smurfette, players have to make a sling shot and break a window.
Use of substances: Early in the game, the player’s Smurf character is told to drink some fizzy magic potion, which will give them the required powers. Papa Smurf then remarks “Who drinks a potion they find in a bush?”

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About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.