Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 10 reviews

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Subjects & Skills

Critical Thinking

Great for

Coding, Game-Based Learning, Instructional Design, Media Literacy

Price: Free to try
Platforms: Web

Pros: Writing code to play the game makes coding less intimidating and more fun.

Cons: In-game supports are extensive but text-heavy, and may cause more frustration than relief.

Bottom Line: While not everyone loves fighting ogres, CodeCombat offers a classroom-ready platform and an authentic learning experience.

CodeCombat would make a great platform for a semester or full-year computer science (CS) course or an after-school code club. Teachers don't need to be coding experts, as the curriculum guides are very thorough, but an understanding of CS principles will help teachers support students' learning. If you're unfamiliar with Python, JavaScript, or HTML, just play the game in advance -- you'll learn too. Teachers can play all of the levels through the teacher dashboard in addition to seeing each student's code, plus the "correct" solutions. Periodic in-game challenges serve as assessments that teachers can track and view in the teacher dashboard. As players get more advanced, they can learn to create and share their own levels, offering long-term motivation and development for burgeoning game programmers.

CodeCombat is an adventure game and curriculum that teaches kids coding fundamentals. Whether they're stuck in a dungeon surrounded by enemies or racing across a battlefield prepared to conquer a foe, CodeCombat puts players into the action. There are hundreds of levels throughout 11 courses, including Computer Science 1-6, Game Development 1-3, and Web Development 1-2. Through a robust dashboard, teachers select courses, monitor progress, and access comprehensive curriculum guides, lesson plans, cheat sheets, and more. The AP CSP Curriculum & Professional Development Hub is designed to support teachers preparing students for the AP Computer Science Principles exam.

Unlike other hack-and-slash fantasy games, CodeCombat has players control their on-screen characters through programming. Want a knight to run down a hallway and taunt an ogre? Write a little JavaScript or Python that directs the character where to move and what to do. Want to roll a cannon across an open field and lob a bomb onto a patrolling enemy? Program the coordinates and launch your missile by calling the correct function. Each puzzle-like level challenges players to win the level by typing in code and running it to see what happens. Before kids know it, they've worked through the fundamentals and some advanced programming concepts and, in the process, outwitted some lumbering monsters.

CodeCombat's "play first" approach gets kids gaming long before it occurs to them they might want to learn computer programming. Fundamentally a game played by writing code, the site never feels like code school. Instead, the code works like a magical language, where properly formatted incantations animate the on-screen characters.

The CodeCombat community has extensive resources for teachers and learners. The teacher dashboard, curriculum guides, progress journals, and "unplugged" activities go a long way toward scaffolding learning. The open-source community has also provided a number of translations to meet student needs. An authentic example of game-based learning, CodeCombat is an educational game done the right way.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

High-quality graphics make it feel like you're modifying a real game, and challenging puzzles keep players experimenting to find the best way to wipe out enemies.


With carefully scaffolded missions, CodeCombat challenges players to write code to control on-screen characters to complete specific goals.


Hints and tutorials keep players from getting stuck on tricky code programs, while teacher resources and detailed curriculum guides provide a structure for using the game in the classroom.

Common Sense reviewer
Melissa Powers
Melissa Powers School Library and Technology Specialist

Community Rating

I love it. Students are engaged and Admin is impressed!

I love the lesson plans, lesson slides and the usability of the platform. The learning games are intuitive and easy to use for beginner coders. I wish they had more lessons that align to the AP big ideas, especially "Lists".

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