Mission X: Hidden Island

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Mission X: Hidden Island App Poster Image
Choose your path in this OK, creepy adventure story.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Some low-level critical-thinking skills and decision-making. Teens can also practice reading comprehension and making empathic choices as they assess the information in the story and make the best choice for their character and others based on what they've read.

Ease of Play

Easy to play. Players can slow reading speed, if desired, change the language (German, English, Spanish), turn off the background music and sounds, and "deactivate waiting" so that they can play without breaks. A map shows your progress within the story and completed achievements (out of 41 total).

Violence

The story includes violence, horror, and suspense elements. For example, finding blood, natural disasters, discussion of the player's crime: "Your last thought is of her, the girl you killed."

Sex

None observed at time of review.

Language

"S--t," "hell," and other profanity in story conversations.

Consumerism

Once players begin the story, they cannot complete it past the first few scenes without buying the full version via in-app purchase. Some pictures in the story appear with the message "Do you want to share this picture with your friends?" as a promotion tool.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters may find storylines about drugs and pharmaceutical tests being done unknowingly on children.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mission X: Hidden Island is a suspenseful, interactive-choice story for teens and adults with some violence and horror themes and some swearing. The beginning of the adventure story is free, and then players must pay $0.99 to complete the story. The tale begins with your character on a ship headed toward an island where you are to be "rehabilitated" for a murder. Then you "navigate between dismal happenings and harrowing suspicions" by choosing your character's next action and reading how that choice turns the tale. Players can access the app in one of three languages: English, German, and Spanish. Read the app's privacy policy (in German, so use a browser with a translate feature) to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Parents will recognize MISSION X: HIDDEN ISLAND as a visual, creepy choose-your-own-adventure story. To play, tap Start, and then read the first page of the story and choose from one of two to four action options. Read how the choice you made affects the story. View a map to see where your choices have taken you on the journey, as well as your achievements and story progress. If you get a story-ending message that indicates your character has died ("Next time try playing it safe -- and encounter different decisions!"), return to the map and choose "Go Back" to select a different option.

Is it any good?

This choose-your-path story will likely be an interesting adventure for teens and adults who like fiction with suspense and mild horror themes, but the writing could be better. The images in Mission X: Hidden Island's background change as the written story progresses, which keeps the visuals interesting. However, some of the cheesy language (e.g., "Sometimes you have to be ruthless" and "Her hair is as black as the darkness in your heart") bogs down the story; expect some reader eye-rolls. Players get awards, such as the Fair Play Award, for good choices. If a player makes a story-ending choice, the app suggests re-choosing ("You don't want to drown. Go back and find other decisions!"). The story is quite long (depending on how many times your character makes a wrong choice and must backtrack) and may require many players multiple play sessions, which makes it last a bit longer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how and why they made their choices in Mission X: Hidden Island. Which choices led to good outcomes and awards and which ones led to negative feedback or even their character's death?

  • Talk about how suspense and creepy details are used to create the story's mood. Ask your teen what segments of the story work, and which parts they think could have been written better.

App details

For kids who love storytelling and reading

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