By Erin Brereton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Challenges mixed with an unfolding, visually evocative plot.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about investigation, logic, and other critical thinking aspects as they try to determine what to do next. Exploring areas and picking up objects to use later involves planning and deduction and gives kids a chance to work toward relatively short-term goals. The app also offers a small amount of reading practice, although there isn't a lot of text involved. Kids work independently, and little instruction or help is given -- which could pose challenges if they can't figure out how to progress to the next portion, but ultimately also offers hands-on problem-solving experience.
Ease of Play
There isn't much of an introduction, and the instructions are sparse, but the scenes aren't too complicated, so players should be able to figure out what to do.
Products & Purchases
This is the first installment in a three-part series.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Reach: SOS is an adventure game for iOS and Android devices. The main character in the game travels through a somewhat gloomy world, and the places they visit are deserted. There's hardly any dialogue or content to read, so much of the exploring is done in silence without a sense of the overall objective. Even though players don't get a lot of guidance, the gameplay's fairly intuitive. The entire experience, as of now, is fairly short -- only the first part of the game is currently available -- but according to the developers, more will be released.
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
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What’s It About?
REACH: SOS casts players as an isolated outpost worker trekking through a deserted world after receiving cryptic messages. They explore different scenes in the point-and-click puzzle game, which touches on themes such as communication and isolation. Kids Players look for objects to pick up or move to advance settings -- tilting their phone, for instance, to slide a ladder closer. Visual clues inform some actions they need to take, such as a note that contains a code they have to type into a nearby screen.
Is It Any Good?
This puzzle game provides a unique and emotionally affective story about loneliness. Reach: SOS doesn't have much written content, but it hints at a storyline involving the search for someone who's been contacting the main character. You don't know when the places you stop at became so desolate, or where everyone has gone. But the expressive, poignant graphics reinforce the sense that the protagonist is very alone in the world. The rooms you see are deserted -- walls have deep cracks, and spider webs dot the corners of some. In one, they'll find a makeshift tent scattered with toys.
The expressive visuals set the tone well, and the game isn't too complex. Even though they don't know what they're looking for in a room, because the spaces are relatively small and only contain so many elements, you shouldn't have to search to the point of frustration for what you need to find. The app description suggests everything may eventually tie into a message about feeling isolated. There isn't much context now to drive that point home, or even clarify what's going on. But only a portion of the game is currently available, presumably with more to come. It's a pretty strong start -- future chapters that reinforce a storyline about the importance of relationships could potentially elevate Reach: SOS from a series of entertaining brainteasers to something that provides a thought-provoking opportunity to learn about human nature, emotions, and dealing with loneliness.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the role deduction and problem solving play in Reach: SOS. How can you know what to do next if you don't get detailed instructions? What steps can you take to figure it out?
How would you work to meet a short- and a long-term goal? How do these goals differ -- and what kind of planning and time management may be involved?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, deduction, defining problems, investigation, logic, problem solving, thinking critically
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: October 25, 2020
- Category: Puzzle Games
- Topics: Adventures
- Publisher: Studio Reach
- Version: 1.1.1
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 11.0 or later or Android 4.4 and up.
- Last updated: February 23, 2021
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