Circle the Dot

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Circle the Dot App Poster Image
Flawed puzzle game is frustratingly difficult.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The game is very difficult to win and relies heavily on luck. Many users likely will become frustrated. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game runs frequent full-screen ads between play sessions; they're intrusive, but they can be closed by tapping the "X" in the upper corner. Banner ads also are frequently present. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Circle the Dot is another in a growing series of puzzle games meant to frustrate players. The game is intentionally difficult and relies heavily on luck, meaning players will lose most of the time, which could cause frustration or even rage among younger kids. The game also displays ads between gameplay sessions and sometimes during (at the bottom of the screen). 

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What's it about?

Players attempt to surround a blue dot with orange ones before it can "escape" off the screen. Eight randomly placed orange dots are on the board at the beginning of the game, and players place others on the board by tapping circles. The blue dot will seek the nearest exit and often escapes despite the player's best efforts.

Is it any good?

CIRCLE THE DOT is a game that follows a pattern that began to emerge with the release of Flappy Bird in early 2014. Take a very simplistic style of play, but put it into a scenario where the player loses often -- and quickly -- encouraging him or her to try again. And, in this case, you will lose a lot and likely try again almost instantly. The problem is, since the game is so dependent on the random placement of dots at the starting screen, player skill rarely enters into the equation. You need to be lucky. And that doesn't build a bond with players. 

That does allow the developer to inundate players with ads, though, letting them earn significant rewards. Although there's nothing wrong with deliberately hard games, this one doesn't quite strike the same tone as others. It feels as if the developer is cheating a bit -- and rather than trying again with a good-natured grimace on your face, Circle the Dot makes you feel like moving on to the next app. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about appropriate ways to act when you're frustrated. 

  • Families also can talk about advertising and how it's designed to make you want things you may not need. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: August 15, 2014
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Size: 4.60 MB
  • Publisher: Ketchapp
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later; Android 2.3 and up

For kids who love puzzles

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