Whatifi

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Whatifi App Poster Image
Cool, choice-based co-viewer has lots of mature content.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The home screen is a bit busy and confusing, but once everything is set, it's easy to watch a movie and make plot choices with friends.

Violence

Physical fights including punching, as well as verbal arguing. A burglar murders a hotel clerk (behind a desk). It seems as though a man will get his fingers chopped off. Possible additional violent content in alternative plot choices.

Sex

Some mild flirting. It's possible that there's other sexual content in alternative plot choices. 

Language

Lots of language in both American and British English including: arse, f--k, twat, piss, s--t, d--khead, Christ, slag, bastards. Also, explicit farting, burping, and urinating.

Consumerism

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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking shots at a nightclub, chugging hard liquor, drinking to the point of extreme drunkenness, alcohol-fueled physical aggression. Possible addition drinking, drugs, or smoking content in alternative plot choices. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Whatifi is like a choose-your-own-adventure movie for teens to watch together with friends. At the time of this review, there are two full movies to watch (more in development), with a series of decisions to make that will alter the course of the story. Depending on the choices users make, these two movies can include a significant amount of mature content including drinking to the point of extreme drunkenness, punching and fighting, a burglary and a murder, a man who may or may not get his fingers chopped off, and explicit bodily functions like farting and urinating. There's also a lot of swearing. Some words are unique to British English, though plenty are more than recognizable to an American audience. To use the app, users must provide a cell phone number and enter the unique code that gets texted to them. Once in, users need to allow access to their device's contacts, camera, and microphone. While watching the movie, teens can watch, talk to, and chat with their friends in the movie room. To be able to watch movies, users invite friends to create a movie room. At the time of this review it wasn't possible to watch a movie without first creating a room with at least one friend from your contacts. 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?

After confirming your phone number and setting up your name and account setting, start using WHATIFI by inviting friends to join you in a movie room. Then, enter the room with your friends and choose one of the available movies. As you and your friends watch the action, all the participants can see each other in small icons at the top of the screen, talk to each other, or chat with words, emojis, or gifs. At various points throughout the movie, the action pauses, everyone sees a split screen with a question about what a character should do next, and all the participants vote for their choice by swiping up or down. The group must agree on the choice for the movie to continue, so if there's any disagreement, participants can talk it out. This continues until the movie ends. Each movie has many possible endings; start over from the beginning to make different choices and come to a different ending.

Is it any good?

Teens get to to put in their two cents while watching movies together, but the content is definitely not for kids. With Whatifi, there are several things going on, and some of them are more successful than others. The group-watching platform works well and is a great way to mimic sitting on a couch in front of the TV together with a friend, without having to be in the same room -- or even the same time zone. The movies are decently acted and produced, and include lots of drama. The choose-your-own-adventure aspect is fun, and it's interesting to see how different choices send the narrative in completely different directions. But, sometimes, the choices aren't fully fleshed out, and often the movie can feel a bit choppy as each choice plays out. The developers stress that Whatifi is meant to be a social experience, which explains why you can't watch a movie without inviting a friend to a movie room. But, it would still be nice to be able to watch and choose on your own. And, at the time of this review, there were only two movies available, both with somewhat dark themes. It seems as though more are in development, including a comedy, which may help to lighten things up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the dramatic elements and mature content in the stories. How does the violence, language, or drinking contribute to the story?

  • Talk about how different choices affect what happens in the Whatifi movies. Have there been similar moments in your life where you felt you had a clear choice between two (or more) alternatives? How do you think things would have turned out differently had you made a different choice?

  • Discuss the motivations behind the character's choices. Why do you think the choices you make are right for that character? Would you make the same choices if it were you in that - or a similar - situation? What choices would you like to see that aren't available?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: December 10, 2020
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Topics: Adventures
  • Size: 209.00 MB
  • Publisher: Anthill Inc
  • Version: 2.1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.1
  • Last updated: January 11, 2021

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