CodeCombat uses an interactive sword-and-sorcery role-playing strategy format to teach the basics of coding. Your in-game actions are dictated by the code commands that you type. The code works like a magical language, where properly formatted incantations animate the on-screen characters.
Each of the game’s levels has you coding toward a specific goal such as solving mazes, collecting mushrooms, defeating ogres, engaging in battles, or escaping from dungeons. CodeCombat rewards clean code and elegant programming solutions. So if you write buggy, unwieldy code, your warriors will wander around aimlessly.
Although they say this game is for ages 8 and up, it depends on your programming abilities. Some tweens may find that CodeCombat is a bit too advanced for them, which can be frustrating. Unless you’re a coding prodigy, even high schoolers may need to invest in some code study on the side if they expect to win.
CodeCombat is free to play, and it includes 100 or so coding exercises. If you want to improve your coding skills further, there is a $9.99/month subscription that opens up video tutorials and tons of extra bonus levels. The code is all open source, so there is a vast library of user-generated content.
Compared to other code learning platforms, CodeCombat is much more entertaining and a lot less dry than Codecademy. However, Codecademy is probably a more effective free method for learning to write code if you don’t want the added stress of your character being destroyed if you don’t do it right.