Creative shooter promotes critical thinking and curiosity.
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
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.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Scars Above is a downloadable single-player third-person shooter currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows-based PCs. Players will assume the role of Kate Ward, a scientist belonging to the newly-formed Sentient Contact Assessment and Response team trying to make sense of the emergence of "the Metahedron." Soon thrown onto an alien planet with no idea where the rest of her team is, Kate will shoot her way through many of the nightmarish creatures out to get her, which will result in mild blood and gore as enemies get their weak points exposed and show subsequent bloody wounds. There are also grotesque transformations, which may be upsetting for some players. The game features a gameplay loop of scanning enemies to discover their weaknesses, then experimenting with different elemental weapons to gauge enemy reactions and behaviors – making moment-to-moment gameplay satisfying and smooth. The main human cast in the game is diverse, featuring an Asian man, Black woman, white woman, and white man. Throughout the game, Kate uses her scientific know-how and deduction skills to survive against overwhelming odds, emphasizing bravery, curiosity, and empathy as she learns more about certain species.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What’s It About?
In SCARS ABOVE, a radiant, gigantic pyramid-esque structure enters Earth's orbit, eventually referred to as "the Metahedron." A group of scientists and engineers, the Sentient Contact Assessment and Response (SCAR) team, is sent to investigate the mysterious phenomenon. Despite the team's best intentions and combined skills, they bite off more than they can chew and suddenly find themselves forcibly transported onto a planet with hostile, deadly creatures. Kate Ward, one of SCAR's brightest minds, is alone, confused, and has more questions than answers. Where is she? Where's the rest of the team? And who is that mysterious apparition that seems to be closely watching Kate's every move? Lacking any combat expertise and only armed with an elemental weapon, Kate will have to depend on her wits to solve the planet's many unsettling mysteries. But as capable as Kate is, she may not be ready for the horrors that lie ahead. Perhaps there are some things humans just weren't meant to discover…
Is It Any Good?
Never underestimate a video game's ability to engage players in new, interesting ways. Scars Above gives the third-person shooter genre a fresh burst of energy by making the main character's occupation a key component of gameplay. Kate, a curious scientist, uses her technological know-how and expertise to give players an edge in combat against the many intimidating creatures that stand between her and the answers she desperately craves. Armed with elemental weapons – with different purposes and effects – every initial fight against a new enemy type is less of a mindless "shoot until the thing stops moving" engagement and more of a tactical exercise of utilizing different weapon types to see how an enemy reacts and using that information to survive. Afterward, players can scan a fallen foe and Kate will break down potential weaknesses, and the genius of this feedback loop is twofold. As the game mixes up whether or not it explicitly defines an enemy's traits, players are often motivated to experiment themselves, making for incredibly satisfying and fun encounters. It also makes Kate feel like a fully realized character who adds a unique spin on the familiar third-person shooter formula.
As the game progresses, more element variants, gadgets, and other resources are added to the player's toolkit. Puzzles occasionally break up the proceedings at opportune moments when players may crave a break from all the shooting-centric chaos. The overall story and characters leave something to be desired as the game teases more than what's ultimately shown, but there are enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. If there's anything that holds the game back, it's the underlining lack of polish during some moments. Characters border on looking like wax figurines creepily interacting with one another, and sometimes, players may encounter the odd glitch or bug where an enemy will trap them against an invisible barrier where they're unable to easily escape. But minor issues aside, Scars Above is a worthy experience to anyone seeking a shooter with bold ambitions that will constantly keep them on their toes.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about innovation in video games. What games can you readily identify where a familiar formula is given a unique spin as Scars Above adds something fresh to the third-person shooter genre? Is it better to play it safe and stick to what has been proven to work, or is it best to take a risk with something new?
Would you like to see more games where the main character's occupation plays more of a role in the mechanics and systems within the game? How far should a game lean into certain occupations or hobbies, and what specific occupations/hobbies do you think would make for a compelling game? What would you include or omit?
- Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
- Pricing structure: Paid ($39.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Prime Matter
- Release date: February 28, 2023
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Courage, Curiosity, Empathy, Perseverance
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood & Gore
- Last updated: February 28, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Cartoonish shooter encourages teamwork and competition.
Star Wars: Battlefront II
Epic sci-fi shooter returns to a galaxy far, far away.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Action-heavy adventure features a lot of humor, heart.
For kids who love action
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate