A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lifeline... is a dramatic story that unfolds like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. It can be played on an Apple Watch or other iOS device, making the communication seem quite real. Kids will feel like they're talking to a real astronaut, helping make life-or-death decisions. Death is rampant, as is constant peril. Depending on decisions, the main character dies in several ways. Other crew members died in the crash, and their bodies are discovered and described graphically (though there are no pictures in the game). The story is intense, and the format pulls the player in, which may make it too intense for some. Language options are English, German, and French.
What's it about?
In LIFELINE... Taylor is a student and astronaut on board a transport ship, the starship Varia, that crashed on an unknown moon. Somehow, Taylor is able to connect with the player -- and only the player -- sending text communications and waiting for responses. Kids choose from two responses to each scenario, changing the story based on the response, which plays out in almost-real-time with breaks when Taylor rests or is busy. Players receive notifications on their device when Taylor is active. Once they've completed the story once, they can replay in fast mode, without delays, and jump to specific parts of the story to try out answers. Players can choose incorrectly, and Taylor can die as a result; players then can start over from the beginning or from a specific choice.
Is it any good?
Lifeline... pulls players in, leaving them eager to get a notification from Taylor to continue the adventure. The writing is excellent, really bringing Taylor's voice and personality to life, though it's also pretty descriptive when it comes to some of the macabre discoveries. The initial playthrough can take several days, depending on the decisions the player makes. Once that adrenalin rush wears off, players can revisit their choices and see how the outcome might change. Then they can play in fast mode, too, making the subsequent play more of a binge-watch than the real-time first playthrough. Taylor's gender is never specified, and the name is gender-neutral enough that players can picture Taylor as male or female, which is empowering. Lifeline... is truly smart and really exciting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's happening while "Taylor is busy" and their own endings for what could happen to Taylor and the crew.
Remind kids that this is fiction -- an imaginary, futuristic scenario. Parents may want to play, too, ahead of kids or alongside, so they can discuss some of the scenarios.
Kids can create a similar game by writing out possible scenarios, responses, and choices.
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love simulations and outer space
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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.