Pou

Common Sense Media says

Virtual pet app engages kids as they care for cute alien.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game offers only rudimentary instructions on taking care of the virtual pet, but it's pretty self-explanatory. Games are offshoots of other popular titles, so will likely be familiar to kids. 

Violence & scariness

Pou can fall in a Doodle Jump like game -- and can starve to death if he is not fed. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Players can record themselves and have Pou repeat what they say, including iffy words.

Consumerism

Players are encouraged to buy extras for their virtual pet (and, in the case of food, they're required to do so). You can win in-game tokens by playing games, or you can buy them using real-world cash. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. The game will repeatedly ask users to enter their email address when they enter the level screen, though it doesn't explain why. Once they do so, players can add others to their friends list and compete in multiplayer games with those people or with strangers. Friends and strangers alike can leave messages on a guestbook, though they can only leave one of a dozen or so pre-programmed messages. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pou is a Tamagachi-like game, where players must entertain, feed and bathe an amorphous creature. The point of the app is to teach responsibility, though there are visible effects of shirking those duties, which could be more amusing for some kids (i.e Pou gets dirty and his eyes get very shaky and large when he's hungry or tired). There are also in-app purchase opportunities that kids may take advantage of to improve their Pou. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Self-Direction

  • self-reflection
  • time management

Emotional Development

  • persevering

Responsibility & Ethics

  • respect for others

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids will enjoy the responsibility of taking care of (and upgrading/dressing) an electronic creature -- and will want to interact with it on a regular basis. 

Learning Approach

Pou shows kids that creatures (such as pets) must be taken care of if they're going to prosper and survive. The lessons in responsibility are baked into the gameplay experience.

Support

The game offers just moderate help, but is familiar enough that it's fairly self-explanatory. Pou responds instantly to stimuli. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Self-Direction

  • self-reflection
  • time management

Emotional Development

  • persevering

Responsibility & Ethics

  • respect for others

Kids can learn a little about responsibility and the importance of taking care of another creature. If left alone, Pou will die from starvation or exhaustion. Kids need to check in with him frequently -- and play with him -- to ensure he's safe and happy. While the experience isn't deep, Pou's virtual-pet gameplay shows kids that taking care of a creature requires responsibility and that there are consequences for not following through.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Players must take care of a Pou, an amorphous creature that is under their care, ensuring that it's bathed, plays, sleeps, and eats. Feeding is a matter of dragging and dropping food to its mouth, while sleep requires swiping to another room of the house and turning off the lights. The games vary, but most are direct offshoots of popular apps (like Doodle Jump), which makes them easy for kids to learn.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Some adults will hate Pou, but their kids will probably love it. Like any Tamagotchi game, there's the thrill of responsibility and the reward of seeing your Pou grow. Some kids, though, might enjoy torturing the creature and watching it suffer. 

Kids will like the games included in the app, in part because they're quite simplistic and offshoots of popular real-world sports (like soccer) or popular apps (like Doodle Jump). There's also a talkback feature, where the creature will repeat what kids say into their device's microphone -- something sure to engage young ones. And the ability to change the creature's look will charm them as well. Just keep an eye on their coins, as the urge to spend real-world money on these virtual items will likely be high for them. 

Families can talk about...

  • If you have a family pet, delegate some of the responsibility for its care to your kids to help kids transfer what they're learning in the app to the real world.

  • Don't have a family pet? A small fish is a low-cost, low-commitment way to give kids the experience of being responsible for another living creature.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:Free-$1.99
Release date:June 26, 2013
Category:Simulation Games
Size:18.60 MB
Publisher:Paul Salameh
Version:1.3.9
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later; Android 1.6 and up

This review of Pou was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byCandyMarshmallowGirl July 25, 2013
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Really fun game

Pou is a really fun game, I'm 13 and I enjoy it. The mini games are fun and I really like caring for, playing with and feeding my alien thing! I always try to get achievements etc also. Only problem for young kids is if they abandon their alien or the e-mail thing. This is a really good game and teaches about responsibility so go for it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written bytgoodnight October 2, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Fun range of puzzle and arcade-style games for kids and adults -

Pou combines a cute little creature that players must care for with a variety of mini-games that earn points you can spend on food and other fun accessories for your pou. My 5-year old is amazingly good at sky jump, one of the mini games, and she loves picking new wallpaper for pou's room. There are lots of mind-bending puzzle games that will challenge and entertain kids and adults. It's a great little diversion (but watch out, the app sometimes makes your phone sound like it has gas if you leave notifications turned on).
Parent Written bySapphire73 April 5, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
LEARNING
My kids love this game and it seems harmless enough. However, twice now there have been COMPLETELY inappropriate profile pics where my kids could see them. Absolutely pornographic. Idk if there's a place to report this, or if anything can be done. We deleted the game, though maybe if you never play online this isn't an issue.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Safety and privacy concerns

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