A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
INSIDE OUT THOUGHT BUBBLES is a strategy game that lets kids match colored memory spheres to make them disappear. Players face a series of challenges -- Clear all the spheres! Free all the mind workers! -- and must shoot colored spheres upward to match the colors and make the spheres disappear. More tools and strategies emerge as the game goes on, and some easy levels are interspersed between increasingly hard challenges. Along the way, users unlock additional tools (such as the rainbow memory power-up) and additional characters (such as Sadness and Anger) and gain new capabilities for solving the puzzles and beating each level.
Is it any good?
Though Inside Out Thought Bubbles is based on the movie, it doesn't really reflect the movie's themes. It's really more of a pinball-style match-3 game with characters from the movie. The one small tie-in to the movie's theme is that different emotions are appropriate in different situations: Sometimes Joy's power-up move is the best approach to beating a level, and sometimes Sadness has the best strategy. The dominant theme, though, is the need for gems; without them, you can't use most of the targeting and shortcut tools that help you advance through the levels. Some easier levels don't require much strategy, but you'll find yourself stuck with limited options when you reach a tougher challenge. If you lose a level, you'll lose a life. You can buy more (at prices that range from $0.99 to $49.99) or you can wait (between six and 25 minutes) for a new life to become available. As it is, some levels are all but unbeatable without the benefit of these pay-to-play power-ups. Overall, it's a fun game that would be most fun and accessible with unlimited funds available.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's themes. Read the full Common Sense Media review here.
Talk about your family's rules for in-app purchases. Talk about how you can still enjoy the game even without paying for more access. Better yet, talk about what nondigital things you can do while the game recharges with extra lives!
Discuss different strategies for different types of games. When is Joy the most helpful character? When should you choose Sadness or Anger?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, hypothesis-testing, problem solving, strategy
Emotional Development: identifying emotions
- Price: Free with in-app purchases
- Pricing structure: Free (Users can play for free and earn "Gems" (the in-game currency) to purchase lives and power-ups. Users can also buy this access by purchasing "Gem Packs," which range in price from $1.29 to $64.99.)
- Release date: May 28, 2015
- Category: Puzzle Games
- Size: 94.60 MB
- Publisher: Disney
- Version: 1.3
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Requires Android 4.0.3 and up.
For kids who love puzzles and strategy
Our editors recommend
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.