A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about a variety of dinosaurs in a fantasy setting, as well as the basics of survival in a dangerous environment. Decision making, planning, and organization all are needed to determine which structures to build and where to build them to support survival. Communication, negotiation, and cooperation skills come into play on multiplayer servers. Whether you face dinos alone or with others, Ark: Survival Evolved reinforces how important planning, spatial awareness, and teamwork are in enduring dangerous situations.
Connection to environment, ecology, far distant past. Appreciation for difficulties of progress, building a society.
Positive Role Models
Players take on role of nameless character, can choose to be as good or evil as they wish.
Ease of Play
Controls are simple, but understanding gameplay, how to survive very challenging.
Violence & Scariness
Gameplay requires fighting to progress, survive. Players need to kill dinosaurs using fists, stone weapons, guns, then slaughter them for meat, hides. There's also a player-vs.player mode where you fight, kill other players. Some blood splatter; bodies remain until harvested.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Players start game in undergarments and have no clothes until they learn to make them. Though game description states you're stranded naked, you never are truly naked.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ark: Survival Evolved is a downloadable survival game. Players arrive on an island called Ark with nothing and must learn to survive but also discover that the landmass is full of dinosaurs and other primeval creatures. It can be played solo or on multiplayer servers, as player-vs.-environment and player-vs.-player. Gameplay is slow and requires patience, dedication, and planning, but working with other players will speed up progress, allowing for development of larger compounds and earlier levels. Though communication is useful for working together, parents should be aware that multiplayer is unmoderated, exposing players to potential inappropriate language. The world is dangerous and violence is necessary to survive, so players will need to kill animals before they kill you with fists, stone weapons, or firearms. There's minor blood splatter when fighting, and bodies that are slain remain until they're harvested.
Is It Any Good?
Set in a lush world of dinosaurs, this action-packed title pushes the limits of a survival game. Though playing Ark: Survival Evolved can be difficult and time-consuming, especially when you're taming dinosaurs, it's extremely engaging and addictive. The ability to play alone on your own server is a nice feature, giving you time to get familiar with the basic features. Of course, if you really want to make your time in Ark more immersive, you need to join a server with others. If you choose a PvE (player-vs.-enemy) server, you get the benefits of working with other players to help you progress through levels and building a thriving society of cooperation and completion. If you're looking for more of a challenge, jump onto a PvP (player-vs.-player) server and see if you can stake a claim on the island while defending yourself from rival communities.
Surprisingly, even though this isn't designed to be an educational game, Ark provides a very detailed dossier on the creatures you encounter. Designed to help with gameplay, this information also teaches about the dinosaurs in a manner that's very entertaining and memorable. In fact, these lessons take you beyond the violence of the game and get you to appreciate the world and the creatures that live in it. The one significant downside is that you have to constantly keep an eye out for safe, secure locations when you're ready to stop playing. See, when you're logged out, your avatar remains in the last location you left it in the game world, meaning it can be killed by roaming animals or enemy players. If you're killed, you'll lose all the items on your person unless you return to your body within a certain amount of time. That hard-core gameplay element can annoy or even frustrate some players. Ark: Survival Evolved may not be for everyone, but for those looking for a challenge, its engaging action and society-building mechanics will keep you entertained for a long time.
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.