Parents' Guide to

Puzzle Adventure

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Fairly humdrum, due to trivial tasks and pay-to-play limits.

Puzzle Adventure: The main character explores a room.

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After a promising start, this puzzler swiftly descends into repetitive activities that could cause kids to burn through their resources -- and their ability to play. In the initial scenes of Puzzle Adventure, kids learn the main character has just finished school and is about to embark on an adventure with their uncle, a paranormal detective. He takes a more passive role in the investigation, directing you to check out parts of a room, locate objects, and otherwise discovering and delivering a possibly magical mirror to a client. Items that kids can interact with in scenes are highlighted, which makes some of the navigation simple. There may be instances, though, where kids aren't sure what to do next, or where to turn for help. Boxes you need to get past are marked with numbers, indicating how much energy will be subtracted when you smash them. Since poking around a room can potentially be costly, a lack of direction can be frustrating. Kids can shift the screen perspective slightly by swiping on the screen, but the viewpoint really doesn't tilt up or down too much, so it isn't very helpful.

The game urges kids to watch an ad to receive twice the amount of rewards they'll be given after opening a treasure chest or completing other tasks. If they don't watch the additional ads, they may not get far before they run out of energy and are locked out. Their reserves will replenish in time, but it's not a fast process. The pay-to-play structure, which can substantially interrupt gameplay, is definitely a detriment. The most disappointing aspect of the game, though, may be its somewhat surprising lack of puzzles. Often, though, it feels like you're just wandering aimlessly in pursuit of a vague goal, such as finding an entryway. The gameplay may get better -- and it's possible the mystery might be intriguing -- but having to sit through so many pauses, unless you're willing to buy a bunch of in-app currency, makes Puzzle Adventure feel like a pretty tame way to spend time.

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