A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
A couple of the games kids play can be a little confusing, but generally, the navigation and other elements are straightforward.
Violence & Scariness
Parts of the game touch on loss, death, and the end of the world.
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Products & Purchases
This is a free limited version of the full game, which needs to be purchased.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rocco's Island: Pocket Edition is a puzzle game for iOS devices. This is the sample version of the full game, which kids will have to purchase for $4.99 for the entire experience. The story deals with some serious themes, including losing loved ones and the world ending, although they're handled in a respectful way. The main character has flashbacks to past trauma, and other characters' state of being is described in a similar way to depression. A tutorial is available, and figuring out how to move and perform other actions isn't too complicated. The sentence or two introduction to the mini-games kids play to advance, though, sometimes may not be enough for kids to fully grasp how they work.
Is It Any Good?
Despite some moments being excessively drawn out, the main character's journey offers impressive visuals -- and a sensitive look at dealing with challenging feelings. In Rocco's Island: Pocket Edition, a teenager named Evelyn wakes up on an island created by her ancestor as a back-up system so the world could be restored if it ever collapsed. Shortly after, she finds a large bell marked with the words "Ring to End the Pain." After a brief flashback of an incident that possibly involved bullying, she rings the bell. Soon after, a six-year-old named Eva arrives and tells her, in a panic, that she's just set the destruction of the island, and probably the world, in motion. Evelyn sets off, with Eva floating behind her, to visit the physical versions of the four elements, who live on the island, to get keys from them. Failing to complete a puzzle will subtract from the Doomsday Timer on the screen, and kids are told all will be lost and the game will end if it reaches zero. As they explore, they'll meet quirky characters that will ask them riddles, and will attempt to solve puzzles and mini-games, some of which can be a bit confusing to figure out because kids aren't given too much detail or assistance.
Pacing can feel slow at times, and the decision to have characters grunt instead of speak doesn't add much to the written dialogue. Although some humor is woven into the story, which helps keep the mood from getting too gloomy, younger kids may find the emphasis on the world ending, including Evelyn's role in initiating it, unsettling. Other parts of the game, though, work well. The graphics are excellent, and the flashbacks allude to a larger issue Evelyn's struggling with -- and she may not be alone. The underlying emotional theme is probably Rocco's Island: Pocket Edition's standout feature, elevating it from being just another story-based game to a thoughtful experience kids may find truly valuable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.