A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can choose to be or date a female or male character and can select from several skin tones.
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Ease of Play
The game's fairly simple, and a number of aspects are explained. At times, though, instruction is lacking and kids may not know how to complete an action.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kids select another character to be in a relationship with, and the two are shown living together.
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Products & Purchases
The activities center on buying items for a home, and currency packages sold for real-world money may be needed to keep doing that -- so kids could feel pressured to spend in and outside of the actual gameplay.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pocket Love is a simulation game for iOS and Android devices. The gameplay is all about purchasing power. Kids complete tasks, which primarily seem to involve buying things for their home. That earns them coins and dollar bills to spend on more furniture and decor -- but probably not enough to keep playing indefinitely. Kids can watch an ad for more currency, or buy additional coins, although they may still find themselves running out of cash quickly. The only option then is to wait or buy one of the in-app currency bundles of dollar bills, which are sold for $0.99 to $9.99. In addition to the focus on spending, the plot involves the two main characters moving in together. Nothing overly graphic is shown, but they nap and snuggle in bed at one point, and cuddling is mentioned.
Is It Any Good?
The game has a strong focus on materialism, and too few tasks to make it stand out for most players for any long period of time. Aside from some brief conversations between the two main characters in Pocket Love -- you, and the person you've picked as your significant other -- the gameplay involves short lists of tasks that need to be completed to earn coins and dollar bills to advance to the next level. Many of the items relate to buying furnishings, which can range from rugs to posters or a toilet, and situating them in the one-room dwelling pictured on the screen. The list of tasks will refresh periodically if you don't finish it.
While the physical and verbal affection the characters show is generally pretty tame, some parents might not be completely comfortable with aspects of the couple living together, such as comments they make about cuddling in bed. Kids may also feel like they need to spend money on in-app currency to consistently keep playing, since the funds they earn can be spent quickly -- and they need money, because buying things makes most of their to-do list. They can watch an ad for extra cash, but even with some to spend, the store's selection is limited, so they may not be able to get anything. Without either the funds or the goods for more items, kids can be stuck waiting for one of the game's timed rewards to pay off or the to-do list to reset to be able to actively do something. Other tasks are occasionally included on the list, but can be confusing. Cleaning the streets, for instance, is something kids are asked to do -- yet they aren't told how that might happen. Kids may be asked to take a photo on their to-do list occasionally, but the whole process feels kind of pointless. The game is fairly new, so more items may eventually be added. But right now, there really isn't much to do. Although the bubbly pastel graphics are cute, kids can quickly run out of activities, so they may get too bored to show Pocket Love much affection for long.
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.