DEVICE 6

App review by
JK Sooja, Common Sense Media
DEVICE 6 App Poster Image
Inventive, interactive story puzzler has thrills and chills.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn some problem-solving and use basic reading-comprehension skills. By solving basic logic puzzles that require close examination of the text, kids will solve the mysteries. Though DEVICE 6 doesn't have explicit educational content, it's still worth it for its innovative approach, its opportunities for problem-solving, and its fresh approach to reading.  

Ease of Play

Incredibly easy to pick up and play. Navigation is quick and intuitive, though retracing steps can get tedious.

Violence

Severe moment at the end of the story involving a loud gunshot, some blood, and a death, though the bulk of the story is text only. Smaller  references to violence.

Sex
Language

Occasional "damn" and "sh-t."  

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The occasional reference to alcohol, but no moments of drinking. Handful of references to cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that DEVICE 6 is an interactive short story that features puzzles and riddles. Players follow the heroine, Anna, who wakes up in what appears to be an unfamiliar and abandoned castle, with only faint memories of a creepy doll. As players navigate the text and interactive features of the story by scrolling left, right, up, and down -- which often requires rotating the device -- they must keep track of clues and solve puzzles to unlock new chapters. The story and atmosphere are horror-themed, but violence is limited to a gunshot. There's also some mild language such as "damn" and "sh-t" and some references to drinking and smoking cigarettes but no visuals. At the time of review, no privacy policy is available.

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What's it about?

Through the text and interactive pictures of DEVICE 6, players follow Anna, who wakes up in an unknown castle, surrounded by antique objects. With memories of a creepy doll, Anna must drum up the courage to explore the castle and seek answers to why she's in a castle, has no memory of how she got there, and what the doll means. Players scroll the text left or right, up and down to move the story along as the words illustrate Anna's movements. For example, if the text breaks off to the right, Anna has turned right down a hallway. If the text spirals upwards, Anna has encountered a spiral staircase leading upward. Footsteps and distant castle creaks echo as players guide Anna through riddles and puzzles whose answers can be found in the text itself (often in plain sight), picture stills, sound and video recordings, and interactive objects. In between chapters, players answer seemingly random questions that earn them points, though it's not clear what they're really for. By the end, players discover the true nature of DEVICE 6.

Is it any good?

The way players navigate the story makes this game well worth playing. It successfully combines the act of reading with navigation, and the text becomes a literal map of the castle. The mystery is intriguing, and, while creepy, it's not so horrifying that tweens won't be able to handle it. The puzzles are challenging but fair, and there are plenty of written and video walkthroughs available online, with and without spoilers. Because there's a lot of scrolling and retracing steps to get clues, some kids who don't love puzzle games may get frustrated. While it's ideal for kids who love to read, its unique format might entice some more reluctant readers as well. Though the navigation won't appeal to everyone, it definitely is a fresh experience that sets itself apart from other puzzle games. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the type of violence in this game vs. a more visual game. Does the format make a difference? Why, or why not?

  • Talk about the unique gameplay and layout of the story. How does rotating the device add to or detract from the fun?  

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading comprehension, text analysis
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, problem solving, solving puzzles
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: October 17, 2013
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Size: 146.00 MB
  • Publisher: Simogo
  • Version: 1.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.1 or later

For kids who love puzzles and mysteries

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