IF... The Emotional IQ Game

Common Sense Media says

Fantasy game promotes real-life social and emotional skills.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Very easy to play, although getting the hang of battling Vim and adding them to your team may be complicated at first for some kids. The adventure quest includes visual cues, as well as verbal and written instructions. A blue arrow that remains on the screen whenever kids are moving through the world from one location to another sometimes appears to point players toward an obstacle, but it only acts as a main guide; kids may have to loop around an area to go toward the direction of the arrow. The addition of a map could help players visualize where their character is located within the overall world. If kids run into a problem, parents can visit the website's help desk to post a question or find out about known bugs.

Violence & scariness

When trying to "cleanse" Vim of dark energy, a player's avatar sends light energy toward the Vim, and they can send the darkness toward the player's character. In that process, it sometimes looks like the character is stunned, but it's not in a violent way.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A subscription is required for any chapter past Chapter 1. At the time of this review, there are two chapters available. It's unknown how many new chapters will be available during upcoming months. Subscription fees are $20.99/three months; $35.99/six months; and $59.99/12 months.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The app's privacy policy states that it collects non-personally identifiable information -- age, character name, activities on the app -- from children playing IF... Parents' email addresses are collected for the delivery of players' progress reports. 

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 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. With the help of a wise Zen-like master, YouDog, kids think about and exercise choices related to core social and emotional learning (SEL) skills such as gratitude, helpfulness, and regulation of fear. 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. As YouDog sends kids on missions, they practice skills such as teamwork, grit, and patience. Parents can view a report on a kid's gameplay and skills practiced for each chapter. This first chapter is free; all chapters thereafter require a paid subscription.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making

Emotional Development

  • perspective taking
  • self-awareness
  • empathy
  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions
  • labeling feelings
  • persevering

Communication

  • friendship building

Responsibility & Ethics

  • integrity
  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Health & Fitness

  • meditation
  • mental health

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Beautiful visuals and high-quality gameplay create a fun, engaging learning experience. Older kids may become so absorbed in the quest that they finish the entire first installation of IF... in one session, whereas younger kids may need more time. Either way, kids can continue to play and explore in the fantasy world after completing the quest.

Learning Approach

Wise YouDog discusses situations, feelings, and problems that kids' avatars encounter on the quest. The information presented is curriculum-based and includes communication and emotional-intelligence-building skills. Reinforcement and comprehension happen as kids choose responses to those situations and conversations.

Support

The app guides kids through the quest with visual cues (such as blinking arrows), verbal instructions, and written information. Adding a map to help kids move through the different areas of the world could help kids better orient themselves to where their avatar is located and where they want to go next.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making

Emotional Development

  • perspective taking
  • self-awareness
  • empathy
  • handling stress
  • identifying emotions
  • labeling feelings
  • persevering

Communication

  • friendship building

Responsibility & Ethics

  • integrity
  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Health & Fitness

  • meditation
  • mental health

Kids can learn about and practice many skills related to emotional intelligence and positive social communication on IF... The Emotional IQ Game. The 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. IF... promotes wise decision-making and respect for others in a fun, adventure-based game.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

What's it about?

Create an avatar and begin the quest by following the verbal and written instructions and blinking arrows. Tap on and hold the arrow icon to move your avatar around the fantasy world, and then listen to YouDog's wisdom. Answer questions by tapping one of the sentence options below. Players cleanse wild Vim of dark energy through nonviolent, one-on-one interactions. Once Chapter 1 is complete, kids can move on to Chapter 2.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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. Chapter 2 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. 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 fun 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
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free, Free to Try, Paid
Subscription price:$20.99 for 3 months; $35.99 for 6 months; $59.99 for 12 months.
Release date:July 25, 2014
Category:Education
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship
Size:303.00 MB
Publisher:If You Can
Version:2.0.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later

This review of IF... The Emotional IQ Game was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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