Welcome to Primrose Lake

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Welcome to Primrose Lake App Poster Image
Task-based mystery has promise -- but also an eventual cost.

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

Ease of Play

Players get tutorials, frequent instructional prompts, and other guidance to help them understand what to do next.



A character is attacked in a park and kidnapped. Blood is also shown on the ground at a crime scene.


Players will need to pay $1.99 for access to additional levels or $9.99 for the full game after they complete the 12th level. They'll occasionally see ads between rounds. They can also purchase access to all the developer's story-based games for $9.99 a month with a free three-day trial.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Welcome to Primrose Lake is a mystery/time management game for iOS and Android devices. This is a single-player mystery, so players won't see inappropriate user-submitted content. But the storyline includes a few violent elements, including a character being attacked, instructed to fight back, and later held against her will. There's also blood shown at a crime scene. Very few ads pop up, although the first few levels of the game are free before you're offered a fee to keep playing.

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What's it about?

WELCOME TO PRIMROSE LAKE combines an unfolding mystery with time management-based challenges. After Jenny Carlyle accepts a ride from a lookalike stranger with the same last name, they end up in a mountain town with various unfriendly characters. Players are asked to find clues, serve customers promptly in a cafe, and run other businesses to gain points. Finding hidden raccoons and completing story objectives earns them diamonds, which they can use to restore the town park. The first 12 levels are free to play, but later ones involve a cost.

Is it any good?

This mystery/time management game is a clever experience that's held back by the demands that players pay for additional content, especially when things are getting good. The time-based exercises in Welcome to Primrose Lake are well-designed; they're challenging and force players to balance and prioritize tasks. Some involve multiple steps to prepare and serve food items, for example, or require gamers to attend to customers in different areas of a store. But players can also adjust the difficulty level, and hearts that appear above customers provide a visual reminder of who should be served next. In general, the app offers a lot of guidance, from tips that appear as the next round loads to the ability to receive hints during gameplay.

Gamers may be interested in -- but not necessarily intrigued by -- the mystery they learn more about as they progress, due to the pace at which it unfolds. After completing several levels, it still isn't clear if the first two characters you met are related, or why people are following and threatening them. Because players will eventually hit a point where they have to pay to keep playing, that's somewhat frustrating: You clearly have to invest some time and money to find out what's going on, and parents may not be too crazy about some of the violence that's alluded to or shown. The app may be best for kids who are mature enough to understand it's a soap opera-esque story and that violence shouldn't be glorified. Parents may also want to consider using the app with their child so that they can emphasize that point.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about working to achieve goals. Can you think of an example from Welcome to Primrose Lake of a long-term and a short-term goal?

  • Why should you persevere and not give up when things take longer than you think? How can you stay motivated in disappointing circumstances?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: $1.99 for additional levels, or $9.99 unlocks the whole game.
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free
  • Release date: September 26, 2019
  • Category: Simulation Games
  • Size: 449.00 MB
  • Publisher: GameHouse
  • Version: 1.9
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 10.0 or later or Android 5.1 and up.
  • Last updated: February 12, 2020

For kids who love mystery

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