Inside Out Thought Bubbles

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Inside Out Thought Bubbles App Poster Image
In-app purchases dominate amusing strategy game.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn some basic strategy as they move through the levels, as kids have to think carefully as they pick which colored spheres to shoot and which power-ups to use. There are fewer spheres and more complex challenges as kids progress, so they'll have to be thoughtful about what moves they take. Unlike the movie, Inside Out Thought Bubbles doesn't offer social-emotional lessons, but it's a fun extension for fans.

Ease of Play

Easy to get started; quick tutorials help kids figure out how to play, but too hard to win without making in-app purchases to add lives or get more tools.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

Promotes Disney's Inside Out movie, and kids likely will want to see the movie. In-app purchases overwhelm: Kids get to try out different strategies but won't have enough in-game currency to buy access. Losing a level means two prompts to buy gems and regain access. Button leads to other Disney apps.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Inside Out Thought Bubbles is a strategy game where students match three colored "memory spheres" to make them disappear. There are more than 100 levels, and kids can unlock different characters from the Inside Out movie as they play and use each character's special powers to break spheres more strategically. Gameplay is initially free, and users get to try out new tools (such as a targeting tool and special spheres) for free, but users will have to purchase the in-game currency ("gems") to regain access. Losing a level or leaving a level results in losing a life; kids can use gems to buy more lives or wait (between six and 25 minutes) until their lives recharge and they get to play again. Kids also can elect to watch a trailer or clip from the movie, which earns them power-ups to use during gameplay. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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Parent Written byKaty N. March 10, 2016

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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?

App details

  • 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

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