If Found…

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
If Found… App Poster Image
Compelling, stunning tale handles identity stories well.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about self-image and identity, including the effect family members' reactions to someone's sexual and gender identity can have. The main character frequently shares her emotions, which can also reinforce the importance of expressing yourself. Character conversations offer communication style examples, and illustrations feature some storytelling elements, although they aren't directly identified. The app also offers exposure to a few space-related terms and concepts and reading practice. Overall, the story explores a number of emotional and interpersonal skill-related scenarios, using a realistic and ultimately upbeat tone.

Ease of Play

Generally, swiping the screen to progress the story is the only action that's required.

 

Violence
Sex

Kissing is discussed, and characters physically sleep beside each other, but nothing explicit is shown.

 

Language

The main character's brother says some unkind things, and the story involves a couple of arguments, but the characters' comments are generally clean.

Consumerism

The app involves a one-time cost, but no ads are shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking is mentioned a few times, and at one point, when two characters smoke something, it's implied it's a drug.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that If Found... is an adventure app for iOS devices. The app features a few heavy themes, including loneliness and isolation, struggling with issues relating to identity and acceptance, rejection, and the death of a parent, which may make it a better fit for older teens. The main character argues with her mother and frequently feels out of place. In one scene, the characters break into her childhood home to retrieve her clothing. They live in an abandoned house throughout much of the story, which may not be legal and local law enforcement eventually steps in to intervene. The overall storyline, though, involves a number of positive aspects, including some supportive relationships, self-expression, and perseverance. Players may not be familiar with some of the Irish slang and Gaelic words that are occasionally used but should be able to figure them out from the definitions that are provided or context clues.

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What's it about?

Players move between two storylines in IF THERE.... In one, set in the 1990s, Kasio returns to Ireland's Achill Island from Dublin. After a fight with her mother, she moves in with friends and records her experiences, including the challenges involving how her identity is perceived, in a journal. The other story takes place years later, in space, as the main character is trying to save the world from destruction. Both tales are told through illustrations and text. Players erase each scene and advance the story by rubbing the screen.

Is it any good?

This compelling illustrated story experience displays content in different ways content to keep the story from feeling like a lot of reading. In addition to sketches that fill with color to become detailed illustrations in If Found..., players touch the screen to expose words hidden under scribble marks in journal entries. The narrative tone and handwritten text helps make the content feel personal in the flashback story. Conversations in the concurrently-told other story set in space help slowly reveal its plot, while emotive music contributes to the game's ambience.

The illustrations are compelling. During a concert, neon text on an inky backdrop describes the excitement as people sway to the music. In space, the sky crackles with stars and gives way to what looks like TV screen static at points. The navigation can be a bit confusing in a few instances when, instead of wiping the screen, players need to move to another portion of the page by following a line or move around the screen to look for the next sentence. Often, though, the story's propelled forward automatically, shifting the reader's perspective to the next portion of text. The connection between the two stories is a little unclear throughout much of the experience, which could confuse some viewers, but by the end, they should understand how they relate. A bonus section allows them to discover outcomes for characters in various decades, based on reactions and other elements they choose. The characters face difficult scenarios throughout the plot, including how they view themselves and family members who aren't always supportive. Some family and friends are encouraging, though, and we learn about similar struggles they’ve faced. The story's overall theme of self-acceptance also offers an encouraging message -- one that may resonate with readers, particularly if they're dealing with some of the same issues.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the themes featured in If Found... -- such as loss, and why it's OK to feel sad when it occurs. What things can help people cope with losing someone they love?

  • When you feel lonely or uncomfortable in a situation, what's the best way resolve those feelings?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories

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