The Captain Is Dead

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
The Captain Is Dead App Poster Image
Quick thinking and strategy are needed to save the ship.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about using critical thinking skills, such as gathering and applying information, decision-making, and strategy. They'll need to prioritize their objectives and utilize some time management skills to ensure they're addressing things at an even pace. Kids will also get reading practice, follow instructions, and work toward goals. Primarily, though, the educational takeaways from the game involve logic-based skill use and practice solving problems.

Ease of Play

The tutorial does a great job of breaking down the basics of the game. Understanding exactly what crew members can and can't do, though, in various situations and where things are located on the ship takes some time.


Violence & Scariness

Aliens are punched, shot, and sometimes die, but no blood is shown.


Sexy Stuff

This app is based on a popular board game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Captain is Dead is an adventure game for iOS and Android devices. The app is based on a board game and features scenarios that require players to make the decisions they think are best. Although aliens appear periodically and can either be punched or shot, they aren't overly aggressive, and their demise isn't gory. The scenarios playerss encounter can get increasingly complex -- they'll need to be OK with multitasking and prioritizing their actions. There's often a lot going on, but there isn't a lot of physical action, such as lengthy battles or characters running away from things. Much of the gameplay involves reading assessments of recent ship damage and moving crew members to different areas to click on a monitor or screen to repair something -- which can be enjoyable, but players shouldn't expect high-octane action to be part of the experience.

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What's it about?

Players need to repair critical systems and defend their ship against aliens in THE CAPTAIN IS DEAD. Based on the board game of the same name, the app tasks players with sending crew members with specific skills to tackle pressing issues, such as fixing the ship's shields. Crew members' turns end once they've exhausted all they can do in a room. The crew can only perform basic tasks when injured but can sometimes trade skills. Players may also need to work around other challenges, such as teleporting being unavailable, requiring crew members to walk from one part of the ship to the other.

Is it any good?

Thanks to the constant stream of problems your ship faces, there's rarely a dull moment in this chaotic space-based game. When things start to go wrong in The Captain is Dead, they go wrong fast -- players may suddenly find alarms are going off in several areas of the ship, and they'll need to figure out what to focus on first. The game, which features a witty, playful tone, focuses on one crew member at a time. Before each character's turn, you'll see the latest issues that have occurred on the ship -- which theoretically could help you decide where to send the crew member. That requires players to be pretty familiar with the various skills crew members have, though -- and where things are located on the ship. Because it isn't always easy to move characters around, being told the teleporter is damaged, for instance, won't be helpful unless you know it’s located in the engineering room. You'll see an extremely detailed -- and well-designed -- tutorial before they begin to play, but you may still be a bit confused about some of the particulars. That can result in some brief crew member turns, because if the person doesn't have the resources to address whatever issues or items are in the room you send them to -- and you can’t send them anywhere else -- you’ll have to finish that turn.

Sometimes, odd anomalies, such as someone acting under alien influence, can prevent crew members from doing anything, and it can be frustrating to feel like you wasted the turn and didn't make any progress. There's a lot of information to absorb, so you'll likely need to play The Captain is Dead a few times to get a sense of the ship's layout and the crew's abilities -- the app definitely involves a learning curve. But if you're willing to put in the time to get to know the different nuances of the game, players may find trying to survive a space attack can be challenging -- but surprisingly fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Captain is Dead affected by the fact that you can only choose to fight aliens during the game? How can conflicts be resolved without confrontation?

  • Families can talk about how you determine what to do first in The Captain is Dead. With alarms going off and multiple things that need attention, how can you decide what's most urgent?

  • Do you feel overwhelmed when faced with a number of things to do? How can you break a goal down into smaller, more manageable steps?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love board games

Themes & Topics

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