Shin Megami Tensei Dx2

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Shin Megami Tensei Dx2 App Poster Image
Demon card game fun to play but involves iffy content.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Combat and leveling is easy, even in free play. Some tedious repetition is required to collect and level up your demon collection.

Violence

Combat's the name of the game, since you use special abilities and magic in battle, but it's bloodless, cartoonish, and between monsters, not humans. Mentions of suicide, but nothing's shown.

Sex

Some demons and female characters wear suggestive outfits. Also mildly suggestive comments in the dialogue.

Language

The words "bastards," "asses" are used in dialogue. Players can interact with each other in chat, which could result in being exposed to inappropriate content.

Consumerism

The in-game shop is advertised, but not heavily pushed. Playing the game for free is very easy to do.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to drugs, addiction, "getting wasted" in dialogue.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shin Megami Tensei Dx2 is a free-to-play Japanese role-playing game (RPG) for iOS and Android devices revolving around the collection and fighting of demons. While the content isn't as mature as the console game series, combat is the game's central focus, with monsters and demons fighting each other using special abilities, although there's no blood or gore shown. There are mentions of suicide in the game, although nothing's shown. References to drugs, drinking, and "getting wasted" are heard. Some swearing includes the words "bastards" and "asses." Female characters are shown in revealing costumes, and there are some suggestive comments in dialogue. A mutable chat system lets players freely interact, potentially exposing them to inappropriate content. Ads encourage players to purchase various types of in-app currency, although it's not necessary to play the game. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') 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?

SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI Dx2 is a freemium Japanese role-playing game (RPG) featuring turn-based combat and character collection. Players take on the role of a young girl initiated into a secret society of "Liberators" who are waging war against an evil group of "Acolytes," who are trying to dominate the world through digital drug addiction. Both sides use elemental demons from cultures around the world as champions, and players must collect and power up as many different demons as possible to be successful. By completing battles and missions, as well as summoning and leveling up demons, players make progress through the story. They can also befriend other players and access friends' demons for assistance in battle. Timed events let players earn special rewards, and players can use the app's augmented reality (AR) mode to summon demons into the real world and snap pictures of them.

Is it any good?

Players unfamiliar with this video game series might overlook this app because of its silly app store icon, but the deep role-playing game will keep them engaged. Based on a cult favorite from Japan, Shin Megami Tensei Dx2 both looks and plays like a high-budget game. Most noticeable here is the game's vertical format and stylish interface, as well as its great attention to audio-visual detail. There's a surprising amount of voice-over content here (in Japanese with subtitles), and the characters look unique and visually striking. And when it comes to demons, well, let's just say it's hard to resist the urge to collect them all.

Demon summoning and collection are the core of the game, which could make some parents uneasy. True, the lore draws upon real-world demonology from around the world, but the religious aspects are downplayed, putting the emphasis on visual diversity. Demons align with various elements -- fire, water, air, etc. -- and that's important when it comes to winning battles. Also important is evolving, "awakening," and leveling up your demons. Completing battles earns you XP (experience points) and currency, which can be used to summon new demons or improve your Liberators' HQ. This process can be sped up by spending some real-world cash, but works just fine without doing so. Regardless of what you choose to spend, the turn-based combat is easy to understand and has a unique mechanic that lets you try to talk to demons rather than fight them (as you try to win them over to your side). As good as it is, some mechanics can be confusing, and some parents could object to younger children being exposed to Shin Megami Tensei Dx2's flirty dialogue, occasional revealing outfits, demon references, mentions of drugs and alcohol, unmoderated chat, and mild language (words like "bastards" and "asses"). Still, for kids older than 12, it's a fantastic take on card collection games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of violence in Shin Megami Tensei Dx2 affected by the fact that you're fighting monsters instead of humans?

  • Are supernatural creatures generally depicted in media as good or evil? Do you think this perception is based off superstition or storytelling?

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