Booeys: A Ghost's Code

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Booeys: A Ghost's Code App Poster Image
Eerie, cool coding puzzler pushes too hard for contact info.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about logic and problem-solving as the challenges ramp up in difficulty. 

Ease of Play

Help is available, but at some point, kids just need to figure it out through trial and error. 

Violence

Booeys are ghosts, but the Losts are somewhat creepier creatures that look like ghost-zombies. They have a habit of drowning and walking into fire, among other things. If they reach the portal, they ascend into the sky. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Designed to help encourage kids to go into coding, specifically through Pittsburg's Parter4Work initiative. Throughout the game kids are encouraged to visit the webpage to learn more, even if they have already visited. No purchases but the website has a form (name, email, and zip code) to request more information.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Booeys: A Ghost's Code is a logic game that's intended to introduce kids to coding via skills such as problem-solving, logic, and algorithmic processes. Though kids are encouraged to create a Simcoach Skill Arcade account (ages 13+) in order to track their badges, they don't have to. The Skill Arcade is used as a platform for local companies to target recruitment efforts based on the skills of game players. In other words, kids' gameplay data may be shared with companies looking to recruit. Pittsburg's Partner4Work initiative sponsors the app, and there's pressure during the game to visit the website and submit contact information to learn more, so it's a good opportunity to talk to your kid about when it's OK to share personal info online and when it's not. While there's nothing particularly graphic, the not-so-intelligent creatures called "Lost" have a habit of drowning, burning in a fire, or being squished by rocks. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.  

User Reviews

Adult Written byTran T. September 6, 2017

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What's it about?

BOOEYS: A GHOST'S CODE teams kids up with helper ghosts called Booeys to encourage creeper-style characters called the Lost to go toward the light, so to speak. The goal? Get the Lost to the portal where they will rise up to the sky in a wispy Lost cloud. It starts out easy enough: Booeys can take over Lost bodies and move them around. But soon enough, we realize that sometimes things are too complex for such a basic solution. The Lost are drawn to light, and it's not always the light they should be seeking. Fire, water, boulders, and more are all perils the Lost face on their way to their final resting place. Booeys have their hands full helping the Lost navigate these obstacles with an increasingly complex set of rules. Each level is a new puzzle, and kids must direct the Booeys on a predesigned path that will save the level's Lost. Then they press Play and hope for the best. If they succeed, the Lost reach the portal and depart the world. If they fail, the Lost are drowned, turned to ash, splatted on the ground, or otherwise, well ... lost. But have no fear! Kids can change the Booey's path over and over until they get it right. Hints are available, but they are few and far between. In between levels, the spirited Booeys engage in some banter with the player. Frequently, Booeys send kids off to the sponsoring website to "get more information," which typically translates into giving contact information. 

Is it any good?

With a spooky vibe and some cheeky dialogue, this is a more tween-friendly approach to coding logic than many games provide. Booeys: A Ghost's Code is entertaining, clever, and smart. There are other games that teach similar skill, but they often employ cutesy robots and animals to do the trick. This just feels like a more mature approach, especially when paired with high levels of Booey sarcasm. The use of this type of game as a recruitment tool is an interesting one, but there's far too much pressure for kids to turn over their contact info. Some kids may find themselves stuck and not able to continue. There are hints, but the hints won't solve the problems for you. It's a refreshing approach to coding logic that will appeal to tweens who don't appreciate cute and don't need a personal cheerleader to feel motivated. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about solving puzzles. How do you start solving a puzzle like the ones in Booeys: A Ghost's Code? What do you do if you don't get the results you expect? What do you do if you're stuck?

  • Discuss your rules for sharing contact information online and via apps. Are there circumstances when it's OK to do so?

  • Talk about screen use. How do you like this app as compared with other apps you could play? If you have limited time for screen use, would you pick this app over other apps on your device? Why, or why not?

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