Parents' Guide to

Valerian: City of Alpha

By Paul Semel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Deep, complicated space-station sim made for genre fans.

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Though it both stands on its own and serves as a nice complement to the movie, this city simulation may be too complicated for newcomers to the genre. In Valerian: City of Alpha, you have to help build and manage the titular city, which, in the movie, houses thousands of different alien species. But since this is a prequel, you start off just dealing with a couple. Not only do you have to figure out how to accommodate all the new people coming to the station, but you also have to explore the galaxy to find the necessary resources. Plus, when new aliens arrive, you have to decide if you want to be nice to them, treat them as hostile, or just ignore them and hope they'll go away. The problem is that not everyone gets along, and not everyone is nice, which is why you often have to make tough choices. The thing is, if you've never played this kind of city simulation before, you might find this to be a bit confusing. Sure, it walks you through the beginning, but it does so in a way that seems like it's made more for people familiar with the genre than for newcomers. That said, if you enjoy this kind of micromanagement, you may actually find Valerian: City of Alpha to be a lot more engaging than Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

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