A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
With virtually no instructions, it's easy to get confused.
Violence & Scariness
Kids have to periodically escape an attacking robot or be killed. But no blood or gore is shown.
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Products & Purchases
Part of the game is free, but a purchase is required to access all of it.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There's a reference to drinking, but the actual act isn't shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monobot is a downloadable puzzle game for iOS and Android devices. The first chapter is available for free, but to view the other six, kids will need to purchase the app for $3.99. When they start playing, they get virtually no instructions and will need to determine how to move around and where to go. While a lot of the game involves figuring out how to advance, kids will, at times, need to avoid and bypass a large robot that wants to kill them. If it does, they'll need to restart that section, although their demise will be quick, and it isn't graphic. Kids will come across a written reference to drinking alcohol in the first chapter, but they don't see it happen, and presumably, based on other written content in that scene, the two people who were drinking are over 21.
Is It Any Good?
With little instruction or guidance, guessing is a necessary part of playing -- and can be a source of frustration in this otherwise visually impressive game. Monobot doesn't give kids much information to begin with. They're told Mono, the main character, has been freed, but it's not fully clear why he was being restrained, or what he's supposed to do. They'll need to get the hang of the controls and explore until they find where they should go. Scenes feature various conflicts, such as a walkway that needs to be extended, but there aren't obvious indications about how to do it.
The game's graphics include some neat elements. Mono glides along scenes almost as if he's riding on a skateboard, for instance, and cowers when a large, threatening robot's red searchlight gets close to him. At one point, he hunkers down and crawls on his stomach across the screen, accompanied by clanking sounds. Mono also stumbles on written portions of a first-person account of a revolt that occurred, which isn't the app's most dynamic aspect -- it involves some reading. That part of the game feels like it was tacked on to give the main puzzle-solving aspect some context. Kids may not be overly intrigued by it as a result. The amount of self-guided logic that's required to play is a bit more tricky. Some of the initial challenges can be solved fairly quickly by poking around for objects you can touch and move. As the game advances, though, the tasks get more complicated. If kids get stuck, there's nowhere to turn for help. Aside from the first chapter, which is available for free, they have to pay to access the full game. With so few instructions or resources, it may be a better investment for teens -- younger players might wish more support was available to help them solve some of Monobot's puzzles.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.