A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Avatar selections include a variety of skin tones, and some characters appear to represent different genders and possibly ethnicities.
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Ease of Play
Characters describe new elements, and ample written resources offer help, if needed.
Products & Purchases
Making money is a focus of the game, but kids won't see any ads.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Venture Valley Business Tycoon is a simulation game for iOS and Android devices. The gameplay involves some positive themes, such as taking initiative to problem-solve, learning from your experiences, and planning to reach long- and short-term goals. Kids will get a chance to practice multitasking and use critical thinking skills such as analysis and decision-making. Competition is also part of the game, though, and they can enact cards that will cause other businesses to have operational problems, such as reduced sales. New aspects of the game are well-explained and introduced at a reasonable pace. The game emphasizes making the most profits in business, but it doesn't have any direct ads or indirect promotional references.
Is It Any Good?
Younger kids may not fully understand the concepts in the game, but in general, the visual elements and characters help make it educational, but also entertaining. Created by a financial literacy nonprofit, Venture Valley Business Tycoon gradually familiarizes kids with operational aspects like setting prices. Playing against friends or fictional competitors, kids can see the impact their decisions have in real-time. They can see a projection of how much they're on track to earn, and increase it by upping their price mark-up. As they advance, they'll start running and will need to monitor more than one business at a time. They'll also be able to adjust more operational controls, such as advertising and product quality. Their goals can differ from match to match, and each one they reach will earn them a victory point. The game also offers some additional learning resources, such as a section where they can click on several characters who will describe what their marketing or other job involves.
During matches, kids can choose from a selection of random cards, or a handful they've chosen to use. Blue cards generally favor your business, while red cards give competitors harmful challenges. While the cards can provide a nice boost if you're having trouble, the ability to impede your competitor's results isn't always realistic, or necessarily nice. Focusing primarily on what kids can do to enhance their business -- instead of giving opportunities to impair other ones -- would send a better message. But aside from that, the developers have done a good job of balancing involved financial information with bubbly graphics, clear and concise profit and loss breakdowns, and narrative instruction on how both the gameplay and various concepts work. The content may not have the same visual wow factor as some of the more detailed simulation or role-playing games, but what's included helps make Venture Valley Business Tycoon an engaging experience.
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.