Catan Stories: Legend of the Sea Robbers

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Catan Stories: Legend of the Sea Robbers App Poster Image
Shallow board game add-on makes for boring adventure.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Forced pauses make for broken storytelling.

Violence

Some description of seafaring battles.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Catan Stories: Legend of the Sea Robbers is an interactive text adventure based on an expansion of the long-running, globally popular board game series The Settlers of Catan. Though it's based on the series, Catan Stories contains none of the series' gameplay elements and is strictly a "choose your own adventure"-style narrative. The story contains no inappropriate content and has no in-app purchases, chat, or social media features. The easy-to-read privacy policy details the kinds of information collected and shared. To read the privacy policy in its entirety, visit the developer's official website.

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What's it about?

CATAN STORIES: LEGEND OF THE SEA ROBBERS is a seafaring fantasy story set on the island of Catan. In it, you take on the role of a magical raven with the power to form mental bonds with humans and communicate with them telepathically. After having terrible visions of pirates (or "sea robbers," if you will) for the people of Catan, you must use your powers to bond with three unique heroes and guide their separate destinies to become one. Gameplay alternates between reading chunks of text and choosing among various actions and dialogue options. Text is set off by limited animation and sound as well as occasional 360-degree illustrations.

Is it any good?

This clunky game book is a classic example of a poorly conceived promotional add-on. Lacking the board game's strategy, suspense, and ingenuity, the only thing it has in common with its namesake is its setting. In three separate storylines, three heroes meet people and do things, but none of the storylines are particularly interesting. Adding to the overall ho-humness is the obvious lack of meaningful choices. The tedium is prolonged by pointless pauses built into the text; every few paragraphs, the heroes run off to do something, you get a message telling you they "will return," and it's 5 to 15 minutes before the story continues. There's no way to speed this up, no currency you can buy to shorten the timer. All you can do is wait. If you're patient enough to get through all this pointless padding, your reward is a disappointingly abrupt, cliffhanger-ish ending. Though the writing's not terrible, and the limited sound effects and graphics are competently done, this boring fish story just isn't worth your time or money. You're better off putting that $1.99 toward a copy of the board game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about game books. Does interactivity make reading more fun?

  • Discuss what makes you like and root for a hero. Looks? Humor? Bravery?

  • Think about mobile tie-ins to other media. Do you think mobile games related to existing books, games, and movies are generally worth your time and money?

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasy

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