A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that AR-K: The Great Escape is a downloadable futuristic adventure containing adult themes. Drinking and states of drunkenness are shown, and one puzzle involves a drinking contest. Sexual situations are implied but not shown, although the main character wears skintight and revealing clothing. Also, she curses constantly. Although the controls are simple point-and-click, the puzzle mechanic can confuse or frustrate some players.
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What's it about?
In AR-K: THE GREAT ESCAPE, the life of Alicia, a college kid/wannabe cop, is turned upside down by the appearance of a mysterious Golden Sphere. Alicia infiltrates what she thinks is the source of the Sphere, only to find herself held prisoner in a secret work camp where thousands of innocents are forced to endure endless toil.
Is it any good?
The third chapter in this franchise frustrates and confuses more than it entertains. It stars a young college student named Alicia whose failed ambition to become a police officer has left her angry and bitter. Her resultant attitude means she's snarky, rebellious, and somewhat self-destructive. Doing her best to move on with her life, she's studying journalism in between drunken one-night stands and is trying to forget the mysterious Golden Sphere that ruined her life. As it turns out, the Sphere is not only the key to Alicia's past; it's the key to a much bigger, society-affecting secret. This is certainly a promising idea for an adventure game, but The Great Escape doesn't execute it well. One of the reason is Alicia herself: It's not easy to play snarky but likable, and Alicia doesn't manage it. She's mean, impatient, sneaky, and prone to rationalizing her often selfish, unethical actions.
Without a good hero to root for, it's even harder to deal with The Great Escape's other problem: its frustrating puzzles. They march you around collecting items that don't make sense, then make you doggedly revisit everyone and everything, hoping one of those items works somehow, somewhere. Common sense is blown off for "cleverness," which really boils down to a frustrating collection of contrivances and random triggers that seem to expect players to read the designers' minds. Though the game's nice graphics, voice-overs, and music do their best to overcome the mean-spirited dialogue and nonsensical puzzle design, they just aren't enough. In the end, it's AR-K players who will want to make a great escape.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about social equality. Do you know where our luxuries come from? Should some people suffer so others can be comfortable?
Think about cheating in school. Why is cheating bad?
Discuss the media's depiction of drinking. What do movies and TV shows seem to say about college-age drinking?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Price: $7.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (This is the third chapter in a series. This, plus the first two chapters, costs $12.99.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Gato Salvaje
- Release date: July 14, 2015
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.