SHINE - Journey of Light

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
SHINE - Journey of Light App Poster Image
Capture the light in calm, unique runner.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn strategic problem-solving as they navigate each level. Doesn't teach meditation, but with guidance, kids can use app to cultivate a sense of calm.

Ease of Play

Learning curve to controlling the blob of light. It's also not always immediately clear what different elements of game are.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The "apps" option in drop-down main menu takes users to parent gate and then to a list of other apps from same developer at iTunes store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SHINE - Journey of Light is a slow-paced runner adventure game. A narrator introduces the premise: Night mites make the night sky dark, and moonies help make the stars shine. But one night, all except one of the moonies disappear. Kids explore magical worlds to discover what happened. It can be difficult to control the light blob; kids may require significant practice before they get the hang of it. Three levels of play allow kids to adjust how challenging the levels are. A calming musical soundtrack matches the magical feeling the graphics impart, but you can turn it off at any time. Kids can play in any of 13 languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and German. 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?

SHINE - JOURNEY OF LIGHT starts with a mystery: Where did all the moonies go? Kids guide the one remaining moonie, a little blob of light that helps the stars shine, through darkness as it navigates mazes, runs into various obstacles, and discovers surprises to solve the mystery of her disappearing friends. Complete each level to move up to the next through four worlds of 10 levels each. Three modes of difficulty allow kids to adjust how much of a challenge they want. An original soundtrack of calming music accompanies kids as they play.

Is it any good?

This unique runner game offers a stark contrast to the typical fast-paced frantic fare kids usually find. Light blobs slowly float across the screen, and calming music contributes to the meditative feel. Also doing its part to create that mood are the graphics, which are quite beautiful. The effect of watching that little light blob illuminate dark corners is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also surprisingly comforting. Of course, Shine - Journey of Light is still a challenge-based runner game, and all the calming elements in the world don't take away from that sense of frustration when you just can't get past a level. Furthermore, the controls feel a bit off, and it can be annoying when that little light blob just doesn't move the way you want it to. It would also be nice to see when the blob is losing strength to avoid sudden surprises. Hints for stuck moments would also be helpful. Thankfully, being able to adjust the level of challenge is a great kid-friendly antidote that mostly -- though not fully -- addresses these problems. With 40 levels and an accompanying narrative that guides players through a mystery to solve, kids may easily get hooked.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what effect the graphics and music of Shine - Journey of Light have on how they feel. Do kids feel calm, focused, and present as they play? Or do they feel frantic and pumped up? Why?

  • Encourage kids to learn and practice calming activities like deep breathing and visualizations. Even better, do them together as family.

  • How does Shine - Journey of Light feel different from other classic runner games?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love endless runners and meditation apps

Themes & Topics

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