A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Although presumably the main characters may be Latino, given the app's title is in Spanish, there's no dialogue or concrete details to confirm that.
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Ease of Play
Players have roughly a half-dozen on-screen control options, which aren't too hard to understand, but some can be buggy. Crouching to avoid detection, for example, doesn't always work.
Violence & Scariness
Characters shoot enemies and are shot at, but no one seems to get injured. Scary imagery, such as homes burning down or parents being held hostage at gunpoint, might be difficult for some young kids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that El Hijo is an action game for iOS and Android devices. Without much direct prompting, players need to determine what to do next in the game. Completing some scenes will likely require more than one try, and some functions, like crouching to avoid detection, don't always work when needed. Characters don't seem to get hurt, but people shoot guns at times and threaten violence. Outlaws catch up with the mother in the story, for example, and although they don't try to kill her, she raises her hands in the air. Criminals also burn down the main character's house, and he and his mother visit a grave early on in the story. Although they are paying their respects, some kids might find the image scary or sad.
Is It Any Good?
The graphics are the standout feature in this app, but the controls keep it from being a fantastic experience. Light streams through windows, forming shapes on the floor, sand blows gently past cacti, and candle flames flicker in El Hijo. Players can move the main character around different scenes by pressing the screen and moving their finger in a direction. Other abilities, such as running or crouching, which comes in handy when you're trying to hide from another character, are also options. Gamers try to avoid other characters by creeping through the shadows in numerous Wild West-type settings. El Hijo, the main character, is visible when in the light and can -- and often will -- be apprehended. Players then have to try to make their way through at least part of the scene again.
The storyline can feel a little sparse -- players don't see much written information, and aside from an occasional grunt, the game's characters don't say much. But gamers should be able to grasp the basic events that are involved. The app does a good job of introducing new elements gradually so you can absorb how each one works. The game controls can be a bit unreliable, though, sometimes causing slight delays when you're trying to walk somewhere or speed up quickly and run. But those are somewhat minor problems compared to a glitch you may run into with the crouching option that's more troublesome. Because you, at times, need to hunker down to avoid detection, not being able to do that can potentially prevent you from getting past certain threats and advancing in the game. Which is a shame -- because otherwise, with impressive visuals and thought-provoking escape challenges, El Hijo could be a fun way for players to both utilize and hone their critical thinking skills.
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.