The only real complaint I have about the battle system is that players cannot party together and do not have the ability to find one another easily on a map, for instance. Friend lists can be created and players can instantly port to their friends but it's a cumbersome way if you lose track of your friends. I would love to see KingsIsle consider "family parties" for people playing on family accounts (see below). But that's something for the future perhaps.
Wizard101 is designed to be family and kid-friendly. There are parental controls on the 'master account'. Additionally, W101 provides kids with a huge number of pre-generated phrases for communication, eliminating the necessity for off-the-cuff conversations. Character names will also be appropriate as KingsIsle does not allow players to name their characters outside of the name generator on character creation. On site forums are moderated and filtered as well.
As far as the financial commitment to Wizard101, KingsIsle has a variety of subscription models including yearly, semi-annual, monthly and free-to-play levels. According to Wizard101's PR guru, Mike Meyers (no, not that one!), KingsIsle is also looking into a family subscription model. Pricing for a single account for a year is a modest $60.00 and quite a bargain.
As I said at the start, Wizard101 isn't for everyone. It's definitely a kids' game but one that is curiously and engagingly addictive. Quite simply, it's FUN and when you're playing, that silly little smile on your face says it all. It looks right, it sounds right (great sound effects and music!) and it just feels right.
Based on my favored "scoring system", Wizard101 earns a "Get it Now" award with the caveat that you might find yourself playing this over other more "mature" titles.
But There's no reason, as I always say, to take MY word for it. Wizard101 is free to play so wake up your inner child and check it out.