High School Story

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
High School Story App Poster Image
Jocks, nerds, and you star in this positive teen drama sim.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn how social systems grow and change as they play through the game, adding classmates, educating students, and keeping the peace at their school. They have the opportunity to think about other people's experiences and feelings, especially in the context of often complex teen social lives. Characters can be customized with skin tone, hair color, face, and clothes, but the game reinforces stereotypes by grouping them by "type" such as jocks, nerds, preps, cheerleaders, and so on, without much nuance. Quests often require certain types of characters to compete. High School Story touches on themes such as bullying, fitting in, gossip, and being yourself and may challenge kids to work on their empathy. 

Ease of play

Once the tutorial is over, most of the game is easy to understand. Occasionally, kids might find feature that they didn't know about, but it doesn't impact gameplay.

Violence

There's no on-screen violence (it's text-based), but characters occasionally get in physical fights and don't always control their anger well. There is some emotional violence during bullying storylines. 

Sex

Characters of the same or opposite sex can date, hold hands, kiss, and flirt.

Language
Consumerism

There are in-app purchases that may be required to complete certain missions, although kids with patience may be able to earn enough in-game currency to move forward on most tasks without spending real money. Some of the quests are sponsored and involve popular cultural figures and/or brands.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that High School Story is a simulation app that lets players set up their very own high school, complete with all the trappings of teendom: dating, bullying and cyberbullying, body image, fighting, trying to fit in, and more. Although the overall message is positive -- be yourself, be kind to others, support and help one another -- there are some challenging topics/quests that may cause kids to think. Although in-app purchases aren't required to progress, kids may feel some pressure to buy in-game currency for costumes and special quests. 

User Reviews

Adult Written byloldoge333 January 27, 2015

Perfect!

My ten year old plays it I poke around on the iPad when she's asleep, and some quests talk about stuff like helping cyberbullying, animals, and that sort o... Continue reading
Educator Written bymaddox121 July 2, 2015

High school mania

violence-none sex-5 Stars Language-2 Stars (c-ap)Drugs-none Mostly known for Sex
Kid, 10 years old December 23, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byamandafran February 8, 2015

Great game

Not only can you make your school, you can learn about important stuff like bullying, making friends, being yourself and eating disorder etc. it kinda leads k... Continue reading

What's it about?

You want to start your own school where everyone will be welcome. First, you get to customize your character (skin color, hair, face, clothes, and name), then begin adding people and buildings to your school community. You'll spend time (and coins) recruiting other students, choosing what kind of people they'll be, then helping them solve their social problems. In the beginning, there are Nerds, Preps, and Jocks, but you have the option to recruit a diverse student body including Actors, Musicians, Cheerleaders, Dancers, Gamers, Wallflowers, Vampires, and Artists. The game progresses through a series of quests that create a storyline for its characters. Often, you'll need to decide on a response to a scenario similar to a choose-your-own-adventure story. In the meantime, you'll decorate campus, set up characters for dates, host parties, battle bullies, take part in the school play, help a struggling pal with his studies, and save the homecoming celebrations from ruin. 

Is it any good?

HIGH SCHOOL STORY is a clever twist on the familiar "build things and collect coins" app model. Although many of the quest plots are silly, it's still fun to see how they play out, especially when you get to make really specific choices, such as the name of a band or the theme of the homecoming dance. As the game progresses, however, quests become longer and longer; it can be tedious to wait 10 hours for a quest to complete before starting any others. Some quests requires in-game currency (class rings) which can be earned slowly in the game or purchased with real cash. It's frustrating to get a fun quest and realize that there's no way to complete it without purchasing class rings. High School Story, although sometimes pretty stereotypical (boxing characters into their cliques), ends up offering a lot of positive messages about making good choices and helping others. Note: Kids may find that, although some scenarios might hit close to home (feeling like an outsider, bullying), everything always works out in the end, which isn't the case in real life. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If you could switch schools, would you? Why? What would your ideal school look like?

  • Does your school have "groups" similar to the Preps, Jocks, and Nerds? How do the groups get along?

  • How could you help a friend who's being bullied?

  • Who could you talk to if you had a friend with an eating disorder? What advice would you give that friends? What would you do if you thought you had an eating disorder?

App details

Themes & Topics

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