By Angelica Guarino,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Survival tale with some violence targets critical thinking.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn from thought-provoking moral decisions in the story, meaning that players will need to practice decision-making, problem-solving, and considering consequences in order to successfully make it to the Dome of Domes. The presentation of this is integral but not heavy-handed, leaving the approach to be presumably welcomed by both teens and adult players alike.
In Ashwalkers, positive choices lead to positive results. But what's defined as a positive choice is not always obvious. Overall, players will need a balance of many strategies to achieve their goals, requiring mature awareness to adapt to the situation and respond accordingly.
Positive Role Models
The characters' personalities change depending on their morale level and past decisions, so it is difficult to declare them role models. But each of the four adventurers exhibits confidence, conviction, and perseverance in ways that are key to helping them survive.
Ease of Play
As far as technical gameplay goes, this is very accessible. There are no tech issues that interfere with gameplay, and no mechanics involving dexterity or skill. The biggest complications involve text choices and resource management.
Violence & Scariness
Blood and violence are frequent in Ashwalkers, but the choice to include it is never for entertainment value. If characters choose to engage in a forceable approach to a situation, it may be disastrous for their team. Even when force is used effectively, there are often negative repercussions in terms of injuries or lowered morale. This suggests a strong belief that violence should only be used when necessary and bravely leaves that ambiguous distinction up to the player.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ashwalkers is a downloadable narrative adventure game with survival simulation elements available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. While this apocalyptic tale has frequent blood and violence, the inclusion of every possible event is done with thoughtful consideration. The gameplay doesn't require fast reflexes, but instead, it focuses on an interest in strategic choices and narrative adventures. With an average runtime of about two hours and 34 possible endings, all reflective of the player's choices throughout the story, players can expect great replay value and a different critical thinking challenge every time.
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What’s It About?
In ASHWALKERS, players pilot the four members of the Third Squad, a team of adventurers searching for a new habitat for their city after a cataclysmic environmental event transforms much of the Earth into a decimated ash field. Not much is known about the "Dome of Domes" -- simply that the Third Squad is tasked with collecting pieces of information about the oasis's whereabouts through Beacons scattered throughout the wreckage. Petra (the captain), Sinh (the warrior), Kali (the scholar), and Nadir (the pathfinder) traverse desolate landscapes of ash and ice, with plenty of possible obstacles set to arrive depending on the player’s decisions. Strategy, diplomacy, force, and stealth are the four main choices that players can use to deal with enemies, nomads, and wild animals, all while managing foraging for supplies and food to keep the team going and morale high. Based on player choices and possible character deaths, there are 34 possible endings players can discover. While some are outwardly positive, and others obviously negative, most lie somewhere in between, with players left wondering what could have happened if they favored a different strategy.
Is It Any Good?
This adventure effectively takes on the challenges that many survival games face -- pacing, decision-making, believable lore, and interesting environmental design. Ashwalkers triumphs over the mistakes that other titles like it have made, but its greatest accomplishment is rising to the challenge of creating moral choices that are truly difficult every time. As a result of the shorter playtime and numerous endings, it's very easy to want to play again and again. Players also won't encounter all of the accessible areas in their first run either, making just one run feel like you've only played a part of the game. Overall, there's a remarkable balance between pacing that's slow, but not too slow, lore that's deep, but not exclusionary, and a gameplay experience that's challenging, but not frustrating. If there's one con, it's that some of the scenery is on the bare side, meaning that the longer stretches of travel in the game can drag on just a bit. But this doesn't interfere with gameplay in a major way.
In addition, there are also multiple options in terms of how players want to experiment with the story's formula -- they may be curious to see what happens when favoring one decision-making strategy over another, or they may want to play with a friend or family member and talk through all of the foreseeable consequences. This wealth of options leads to an engaging and enjoyable experience that also provides the chance to practice the problem-solving and decision-making skills that teens should be improving as they age.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can also talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Ashwalkers affected by the fact that it isn't gratuitous or gory? What purpose does the presence of violence serve in this story? What can we learn from it?
Though not likely to happen, what can these apocalyptic stories teach us about what we might do if society collapsed?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, asking questions, decision-making, deduction, logic, prediction, problem solving, strategy, thinking critically, Self-Direction: achieving goals, set objectives, time management, working efficiently, Emotional Development: handling stress, persevering, Responsibility & Ethics: honoring the community, integrity, learning from consequences, making wise decisions, respect for others
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Dear Villagers
- Release date: April 15, 2021
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Adventures, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: April 26, 2021
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.
Suggest an Update
Where to Play
Our Editors Recommend
Great Games That Teach Strategy
Best Action Games for Kids
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.See how we rate