Rec Room

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Rec Room App Poster Image
Virtual social game has lots of promise; crashes often.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids are empowered to be creative and learn about designing games without the need to code. Interacting with other players encourages socialization and helps build collaboration skills.

Ease of Play

Features are easily accessed at the top of the screen. Moving around through the rooms takes practice and patience. Since the game crashes frequently, it's impossible to play uninterrupted for any length of time.

Violence

Some game rooms have moderately violent and scary themes; these can be monitored by parents with junior accounts.

Sex

In non-junior accounts, iffy content related to sex can be easily accessed and shared among users.

Language

In non-junior accounts, inappropriate language could be easily exchanged in posts and in chat rooms.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In non-junior accounts, iffy content related to drinking, drugs, and smoking could be easily accessed and shared among users.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rec Room is a social building-and-creation game for iOS and Android devices. Kids have their own private dorm room and can move throughout different rooms that other players have created, or they can create and publish their own rooms with interactive games, similar to Roblox. There's a chat feature, and some of the rooms have iffy themes. Parents can create junior accounts that block the chat feature. This type of account allows parents to directly monitor kids' activities with a linked parent account, and kids aren't allowed to create their own games. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your kid's information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

REC ROOM is a social game that encourages kids to hang out with other players and use their creativity to build themed rooms with interactive games. It can be played with or without a virtual reality headset. The game begins with a generic avatar and a private dorm room that kids can customize. From here, kids can hang out, roam around, and enter other game rooms -- all of which have unique themes. Some of the game rooms include paintball, escape rooms, parkour courses, and dodgeball. New rooms are added regularly. Kids can also work with other players to create and publish their own rooms. Many of the rooms have limits on the number of players allowed to enter, which helps with crowd control. Kids can buy tokens or earn them through gameplay. They're used to buy items like food, camera film, hair, clothing, and gifts.

Is it any good?

The ability to collaborate and create rooms directly within the app and the junior account option set this game apart from other similar games, but frequent crashing puts a major damper on the fun. The game has plenty of appeal for kids who enjoy social gaming and creating worlds. It's a sandbox game, which means players can roam freely and explore to their heart's content. In fact, this form of free exploration is a great way to spark creativity in kids who need a bit of inspiration. For kids under 12, a junior account can give parents some peace of mind. That said, there's plenty of stuff you wouldn't want a 13-year-old to see either, so if your younger teen is playing, be sure to monitor their use of Rec Room.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the app experienced multiple crashes during gameplay. The game either shuts down completely or unexpectedly kicks the user out of a room and back to the private dorm room. Such a severe technical glitch makes it nearly impossible to have a fun gaming experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about safely publishing a game in Rec Room and what to do if other players participate in inappropriate behavior. How do you block and report other users? What if someone online makes you uncomfortable?

  • Discuss safety and privacy rules with kids so that they know what's appropriate when interacting with other players. What information is private and not for sharing in chat?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Hobbies: building
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations
    Collaboration: teamwork
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (in-app purchases from $4.99 to $49.99)
  • Release date: July 9, 2020
  • Category: Adventure Games
  • Size: 2000.00 MB
  • Publisher: Rec Room Inc
  • Version: 20200703
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.0 or later
  • Last updated: August 17, 2020

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