Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Beholder Game Poster Image
Flawed linear adventure asks tough ethical questions.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Positivity in hands of beholder. Players can choose to be kind, generous or mean, selfish.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Good, bad characters appear. Hero can be either, depending on choices player makes.

Ease of Play

Concept, controls are simple enough; poor execution sometimes makes things harder than they should be.


Characters shown being beaten, arrested by police, but cartoon silhouettes keep things from getting too graphic.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters shown drinking alcohol; player can purchase, sell it. Characters make, sell (prescription) drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beholder is a downloadable strategy adventure game that asks players to make difficult ethical choices. Putting players into a position of power, it gives them the opportunity to abuse that power or use it to assist others. Criminal activity is shown, and mature themes are addressed including spying, drug trafficking, smuggling, theft, blackmail, forgery, and political oppression. Characters are shown drinking alcohol as well as being beaten by the police; the simplistic art style prevents this from becoming too graphic.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMCJ10 March 9, 2019

I'd keep an eye on it...

While I myself enjoy this game I have to respectfully disagree that this game is for anyone under the age of 13.

Aside from the themes mentioned of violence, d... Continue reading
Adult Written byBob the fries June 16, 2018

Tiny bit of iffy stuff but if your child is sensible or mature they won’t follow the wrong path in real life!

The game contains drug dealing and some other iffy topics but if your kid is 8+ and mature it will not be a problem. Also if your kid is 7+ give it a try and if... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bydoggydogdoggy50 April 20, 2021

Beauty is Beholder

When I first bought Beholder, I enjoyed it, I played a bit but not much, then my daughter was going to die so I rage quit for a year or so. Then I suddenly real... Continue reading

What's it about?

BEHOLDER lets players find out what it's like to manage a rundown apartment building in a politically oppressed fictional country. Managers who perform their duties successfully are rewarded. Those who don't are severely punished. Along with maintaining the building, players must spy and report on its tenants by installing hidden cameras, listening at keyholes, and performing random searches. Once they've gathered enough information, they must write and submit regular reports.

Is it any good?

This strategy title could've raised very important questions, but its linear structure and weak pacing barely scratch the surface. In a country that rewards betrayal and punishes kindness, what kind of person would you be? You'll find out as the replacement manager of a government-run apartment house. You'll monitor your tenants both visibly and covertly and report any suspicious activity. Sketchy as that sounds, it's easy to do at first, since staying in the government's good graces means you stay alive and your family receives food, shelter, medicine, and other important perks not available to the common public. If only things stayed that easy.

As time goes on you get to know your tenants, even befriend them. You share pleasantries, worries, household items. They come into your home. Then it comes: the call telling you to evict one of your friends by whatever means necessary -- threats, blackmail, even planting illegal contraband. Do you do it, ignoring the trust you've built and keeping your family safe? Or do you refuse the directive and risk losing everything? Before Beholder is done, you'll be sorely tested through choices that become increasingly gut-wrenching. Sadly, the tension is often undermined by sections of dead air and bugs that prevent objectives from completing the way they should. Worse, certain choices made early on can seriously hamper your later progress. Although these mistakes can be fixed in subsequent playthroughs, the linear storyline isn't really compelling enough to encourage multiple run-throughs. Ultimately, flawed presentation undermines what could have been an excellent tool for asking important and politically timely ethical questions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about obeying laws. How important is it to obey the law? Is there ever a time when it's OK to break it?

  • Think about government control. When, if ever, should the government interfere with our private lives?

  • Discuss the concept of security versus privacy. Are you willing to give up your privacy to feel safe?

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $9.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Alawar Entertainment
  • Release date: November 9, 2016
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Topics: Adventures
  • ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: February 26, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

Themes & Topics

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