IF... The Emotional IQ Game App Poster Image

IF... The Emotional IQ Game

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Fantasy game promotes real-life social and emotional skills.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about and practice many skills related to emotional intelligence and positive social communicationThe curriculum-based lessons interwoven into gameplay on this quest-style app can help kids develop their emotions-based vocabulary, learn social decision-making, build empathy, and increase their ability to handle stressful situations by labeling feelings and discovering ways to manage stress. It's possible that some kids will get frustrated by the stop/start quality of the game element vs. the dialogue, but since those elements are important for overall gameplay, kids will need to practice patience, which is ultimately a goal of the game. IF... The Emotional IQ Game promotes wise decision-making and respect for others in a fun, adventure-based game.

Ease of play

 Verbal instructions and on-screen arrows show the path. A map would make navigation easier.

Violence & scariness

Players battle Vims from the dark side and don't always win. There's nothing too scary about the battles, but the overall mood is dark.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

First chapter free, but others must be purchased for $1.99 per chapter, all for $19.99.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that IF... The Emotional IQ Game is an adventure game that helps kids age 6 to 12 develop the skills that lead to emotional intelligence. Inspired by the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, the app leads kids on a quest that promotes self-awareness and positive social communication. Kids think about and exercise choices related to core social and emotional learning (SEL) skills such as gratitude, helpfulness, and regulation of fear. As they play, kids get dialogue choices and can choose to say unkind or smart-alecky things; if they make an unkind choice, other characters react with hurt feelings or advice. There is a lot of static dialogue in the game that contains the instructive content, but kids can skip it if they choose. Characters use language such as "Let's find a win-win" and "This is really frustrating and scary" to help kids learn problem-solving and emotional vocabulary. Parents can view a report on a kid's gameplay and skills practiced for each chapter. This first chapter is free; all chapters thereafter must be purchased.

Kids say

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What's it about?

Kids create their own dog avatars and travel through Ziggurat, a glittery fantasy world, fixing things in the environment and collecting "energy creatures" called Vim to cleanse them of dark energy. The quest begins by following the verbal and written instructions and blinking arrows; kids navigate by tapping on and holding the arrow icon to move. With the help of a wise Zen-like master, YouDog, and other characters, kids learn the story of Ziggurat, go on short adventures, and participate in dialogue about emotions by selecting one of the available choices. At one point, an encounter with a mystery voice leads kids through a guided meditation. If all chapters are purchased, kids can play in any order, though each chapter's story builds on the one before it.

Is it any good?


Exploring the beautiful fantasy world of IF... THE EMOTIONAL IQ GAME can help kids naturally absorb the valuable social and emotional lessons seamlessly built into the quest's gameplay. These lessons may help kids navigate potentially troublesome situations such as bullying, test anxiety, and everyday frustrations in the real world -- especially if parents and teachers reinforce these lessons by using the same language and promoting the skills (such as deep breathing) characters model on the app.

Depending on a player's age, level of concentration, and interest in quest-style games, one chapter of IF... may take anywhere from about an hour to multiple play sessions to complete. Each chapter includes different SEL skills lessons and adds more complexity to gameplay, with the addition of more things to find and more difficult terrain to navigate. A player's age does not affect the content of the game, and some kids may grow impatient with the amount of talking in the game, though the dialogue is built as a part of the adventure and not separate from it. New chapters are added regularly. The addition of a map (so kids can orient themselves to where their character is in the fantasy world) could improve this already highly engaging experience. IF... is a tremendously inventive way for kids to learn emotional-intelligence skills. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about and use some of the key words found throughout IF... -- such as "admire," "grateful," and "calm" -- and distinguish the difference between "sad" and "mad" to help your kid develop a broad and accurate emotional vocabulary. 

  • IF... provides some excellent discussion starters in the dialogue options between characters and the player's avatar. For example, discuss why some ways of responding socially promote social connection more than others. When a character makes a positive remark to your avatar, explain why "I feel grateful" is a better response than "I don't think I'm lucky."

  • Refer to some of the suggestions provided to characters on IF... in everyday situations with your kid to help him or her ride the ups and downs of emotions. For example, one suggestion that YouDog provides to characters is to take a deep breath and intentionally relax muscles during times of stress or frustration.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Subjects:Language & Reading: following directions, vocabulary
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making
Emotional Development: empathy, handling stress, identifying emotions, labeling feelings, persevering, perspective taking, self-awareness
Communication: friendship building
Responsibility & Ethics: integrity, making wise decisions, respect for others
Health & Fitness: meditation, mental health
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid, Free
Subscription price:$20.99 for 3 months; $35.99 for 6 months; $59.99 for 12 months.
Release date:March 26, 2015
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Size:469.00 MB
Publisher:If You Can
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later

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Educator and Parent Written byKudaKris1 June 6, 2016

Social Skill

This game was quite wonderful and did not elicit any meltdowns from students I had using it. The game really lived up to what ot said it was and had amazing graphics. I was so excited about the app, but then went to download it to other iPads and I can not find it in the app store at all now. What happened?
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Parent Written byparentingover40 March 29, 2016

If is an amazing experience

We purchased "If" after playing the first chapter for free and felt it was going to be worth every penny. My daughter looked forward to each chapter, what would happen, how she would react, what she would learn about friendship, reading others nonverbal social cues, recognizing when her emotions were really strong (going up the escalator), learning how to calm herself (coming down the escalator), and so much more. I only wish there were more chapters. Another story of Catrina, perhaps...please?!? Anyway, our daughter struggles with reading so this made for a good parent/child activity. You can pace the story so meltdowns are a minimum and although she has low tolerance for frustration, did very well with the game. And when she didn't, we applied what we were learning about calming methods...which is the whole point of a game like this. Enjoy!
Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written byawsamuel January 22, 2016

Emotional learning that causes meltdowns?

As the parent of a sensitive, anxious child, I love the idea of IF. But ironically, the game consistently led to meltdowns, probably because it is TOO successful as a game -- so (unlike many games) my son just couldn't bear to turn it off. We uninstall any games that lead to meltdowns, so IF got canned after about a month of repeated issues. Parents of kids who are prone to screentime meltdowns may want to tread carefully here.