A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Readers actively influence story details as they progress through any number of serial stories in EPISODE -- CHOOSE YOUR STORY. Stories are divided into episodes, and kids must spend a ticket to advance to the next one: Two free tickets appear four hours after you open a new episode, or you can buy them. In the stories, kids choose from a multiple-choice list to influence things such as the main character's facial features and outfits, dialogue, and reactions to events or even whether the love interest will be male or female. Sometimes, certain choices cost "gems," which can be earned or bought. The editorial staff creates some stories, but the great majority are user-submitted. Sign in with a Google account to learn how to write, direct, and post your own story.
Is it any good?
This creative forum for interactive digital storytelling loses ground with the superficial, stereotypical, and mature themes that dominate the stories. It gets high marks for its concept, and the clear tutorials help guide the way from creating a compelling story to writing believable dialogue and necessary code to direct the story. There's also a whole fan community and active forum, both of which help kids really get into it and share ideas and experiences. That said, this could be so much better if the focus of these stories wasn't the equivalent of trashy, addictive, soap opera-like romance novels. Almost all the stories center, sometimes exclusively, on clothing and dating/sexual behavior. It's also disappointing how much kids are pushed to purchase items throughout the stories, and frequent app commercials are a major nuisance. So, while this is a well-made app that will appeal to teens and offers some cool creative elements, parents will want to carefully consider the messages the app conveys and set expectations around spending real money.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way sex, relationships, and body image are depicted in Episode -- Choose Your Story. What about the emphasis on the important of appearance? How does that feel? What do you think about how the characters talk about sex, their sexual interest, characters of the opposite (or same) sex, and sexual behavior? Are there consequences to any of this behavior? Should there be? Why, or why not? Does their behavior feel realistic and appropriate for their age?
Talk to your kids about the commercial model of the app. What tactics do the developers use to try to get you to spend money? Is it fair? Why, or why not? How about what happens in the stories? What do you think about many of the characters' obsessions with clothing, shopping, or appearances?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, storytelling, writing
Arts: script writing
- Skills: Creativity: making new creations, producing new content
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Release date: June 8, 2016
- Category: Simulation Games
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- Size: 94.60 MB
- Publisher: Episode Interactive
- Version: 4.20
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.