Radiation Island

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Radiation Island App Poster Image
Explore, craft, kill, and survive in cool, open-world game.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

On default difficulty, staying alive can be tricky. On easy difficulty, staying alive is easy-breezy. Controls can be a bit tricky to get used to.

Violence

To survive, players must kill animals and zombies with guns, bows, and melee weapons. There's a brief spray of blood, but then the animal or character crumples to the ground.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players must take medications to heal and eliminate radiation poisoning and create healing drugs using local plants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Radiation Island is an adventure-survival game where players gather resources, kill zombies, and hunt animals for food. Violence becomes more frequent as the game goes on, but there's no gore. The game can be played in first or third person, and on normal difficulty, it's possible to die, but death is represented by the character falling to the ground and the screen going dark. In the multiplayer mode (which is only unlocked after you beat the game in single-player mode), players shoot one another, and blood spurts when they do. Aside from these moments of violence, gameplay is mostly about gathering resources, crafting items, and building structural defenses while solving the mystery at the heart of the story. Note: There's no privacy policy, so it's unclear what, if any, personal information is being gathered.

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What's it about?

RADIATION ISLAND is about a World War II soldier taking part in the mythical Philadelphia Experiment, where military scientists attempted to make warships invisible. During this experiment, you're stranded alone on the island where the experiments were taking place, and your goal is to survive and solve the mystery to escape the island. Choose first- or third-player mode, customize your controller method, and then walk through the tutorial. Starting with nothing, you roam around collecting raw materials (chopping wood, mining stone, collecting plants) to craft the items you'll need to survive, while searching through abandoned military buildings for answers to your dilemma. If you play in exploration mode, you'll encounter fewer dangers, while in adventure mode you'll face zombies and hungry predators who can kill you. Advanced players can take on a third mode that is even more extreme. If you beat the game, you can advance even further into multiplayer mode.

Is it any good?

In a field of mediocre "free-to-play" games that focus on draining your wallet rather than providing entertainment, this economical survival-horror game is a standout. For less than the price of a regular latte, kids get hours upon hours of absorbing exploration and customization and can explore mythology around one of history's most talked-about mysteries. Simple touch-screen controls and an intuitive menu interface set users up to live out a weird and frightening story while putting survival skills to the test. There are plenty of chances to hone these skills while collecting raw materials such as wood, stone and plant fibers and turn them into useful items such as axes, torches, and protective clothing. There are also a good number of abandoned military buildings that provide some protection from the cold and hungry animals. Because of its overall quality, it's possible to overlook the clumsy character models, awkward animations, and unrealistic game rules, such as how you can die of hunger over the course of one night. Also best ignored is the crude multiplayer mode, which looks and plays like an afterthought. However, if you're the type of gamer who enjoys a good scare and embraces a challenge, you're in for the best entertainment three dollars can buy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Are any parts of the game scary? Remind kids that there's a gameplay mode that doesn't involve as much violence and scariness.

  • Discuss the difference between playing in first or third person. Does it change how it feels to play the game? If so, why?

  • Talk about the Philadelphia Experiment and the history behind the game. Why is radiation a central feature in the game?

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strategy and history

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