A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
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.
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?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals
Emotional Development: empathy, perspective taking
Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences, respect for others
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (In-app purchases are available.)
- Release date: March 27, 2014
- Category: Simulation Games
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Size: 84.00 MB
- Publisher: Pixelberry Studios
- Version: 1.7.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love life simulations
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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.