A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Several characters, including the Voodoo Detective, are Black, and the plot touches on some of the conflict that can be involved in tourism affecting the look and feel of a town.
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Ease of Play
Once kids get the hang of moving the character around, the app is easy to navigate.
Violence & Scariness
Magic and death are themes in the story, but nothing's graphically shown.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cocktails are mentioned more than once.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Voodoo Detective is a mystery game for iOS and Android devices. The game costs $14.99 to download, but won't feature any additional costs after that. The mystery aspect of the storyline could potentially help strengthen kids' investigative, logic, and other skills. They may not be sure what to do in some scenes that involve finding an object or going someplace -- both can involve some poking around, but kids should be able to figure out their objective without much frustration. The content isn't too outrageous -- there's commentary about magic and death, but nothing's graphically shown. There are some references to drinking alcohol. The central character discusses making drinks in his office and stops by a bar for a cocktail. He also makes some iffy comments to his client, in regard to the way he addresses her, although she pushes back when he does.
Is It Any Good?
This noir-ish app offers ample atmosphere -- which, paired with a well-presented, interesting plot, makes the game an enjoyable ride. Voodoo Detective, the main character, is a private eye in New Ginen, a small island town. As he investigates a case involving a new client (a woman who can't remember much about her past), kids determine the story's direction by choosing actions or responses to other characters from options that appear in a notebook on screen. Kids may be briefly unsure what to do at times -- it's not always clear which direction you're supposed to walk in, and buildings they may need to enter aren't always clearly identified. They can also wander into a new location if they walk to the edge of the screen, but can easily turn around, if that area doesn't relate to the portion of the story they're in. Generally, if they follow the main character's instructions -- such as to find another character to ask for a book -- they shouldn't accidentally skip ahead to something they're meant to explore later.
Trying to figure out what to do can mean, though, that they will hear Voodoo Detective repeating the same comments in scenes. Kids can skip the dialogue line by line by hitting a button, but there will still be a pause. The way the main character speaks to his client can be problematic -- he sometimes uses demeaning nicknames, such as doll face, which are mildly offensive. He's not completely unlikable, though, and humor helps balance out some of the story's more serious themes, such as potential kidnapping and deception. While the voodoo aspect may initially seem questionable, the developers included a statement that mentions the game respectfully draws inspiration from voodoo traditions and culture, but isn't trying to portray an exact representation of the religion. With an intriguing storyline and top-notch graphics and sound effects -- Voodoo Detective's appeal is really no mystery.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.