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Frotz

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Frotz App Poster Image
Text-based games; some mature, but great with guidance.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Though there's some problem solving involved in some of the games, much is left to chance.

Ease of Play

The app itself is fairly easy to navigate with a bit of exploring. The games/puzzles can be extremely difficult. 

Violence

If you can imagine a violent, text-based story line, it likely appears, from battling dwarfs to playing first-person as a serial killer. 

Sex

Some of the stories have graphic descriptions of sex acts as well as sex-related violence/non-consensual sex. 

Language

Expect some games to have cursing (including commands that the user needs to issue), hate-speech, demeaning dialogue, etc. 

Consumerism

While there are no ads or in-app purchases, some games might have mentions of products or plots/goals that revolve around buying things. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Expect all manner of drug/alcohol use, including one game that focuses entirely on ditching your drug paraphernalia before the police arrive and another about avoiding rape after drinking too much. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Frotz is an adult-oriented platform for enjoying interactive fiction (IF) games/stories. These include text adventures like old-school Zork and choose-your-own-adventure-style stories. Frotz loads the IFDB (Interactive Fiction Database), which is a massive, self-publishing repository of interactive games and stories, and allows users to add to their library from the collection. The collection (and surrounding community) is, for all intents and purposes, unmoderated. If you can imagine something in a story, you can probably find it in the IFDB. While parents may enjoy playing through some of the interactive stories with their kids, they will likely not want to leave minors alone to download the IF games freely. There's also no rating system, so the safest bet will be games that have previously been published and rated. Frotz also has a built-in web browser. There was no privacy policy available for Frotz at the time of review.

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What's it about?

FROTZ is a platform that allows users to browse and download interactive fiction games and stories. Frotz comes with a couple dozen games included, including the MIT version of Zork, one of the classic text-based games -- and one of the tamer ones. Most of these games are text-only adventures where users enter simple commands to navigate an imaginary world and solve puzzles. Frotz also links to the Interactive Fiction Database where there are thousands of games, most of which can be downloaded into the app or played in the included browser. Frotz itself is a simple platform that displays the games and allows you to interact with them via the keyboard. The IFDB, for which Frotz is just a portal, is a user community with little moderation. You can download games without logging into the community, but those who want to leave feedback will need to create an account. 

Is it any good?

Former '80s kids might remember text adventures such as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Zork. so this app can be a fun way to share them with kids, but some of the games are very mature.  Frotz is a simple tool, but it does exactly what it needs to do with no frills or distractions. There's a wealth of free content at your fingertips via the IFDB, and while much of it is low quality, there are gems to be found. And it's a great way to introduce kids to some graphics-free games. Frotz isn't an app to let your kid explore alone, but it can be a good access point to games you already know and love or games you've previewed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about interactive fiction like the games in Frotz. What is it? What is fun about a game with no or limited graphics?

  • Talk about safety online. What are your rules about joining online communities? What are you allowed to share online? 

  • Discuss mature content and what your rules are. Are there certain categories -- like violence or drug use -- that carry more weight than others? 

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzle and adventure games

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