Beyond Blue

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Beyond Blue Game Poster Image
Lovely undersea adventure with strong conservation message.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The story promotes ocean conservation, particularly whales. It suggests human interference, from plastic pollution to the sounds of deep sea mining, is having a dire impact on aquatic life. This message is amplified by a series of unlockable live-action mini-documentaries that provide a glimpse into the lives of real-world researchers and ecologists.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The researchers are depicted as smart, caring people interested not just in nature, but also their friends and families. They are creative thinkers, capable of understanding and tackling problems from a variety of angles.

Ease of Play

Movement and interactions with objects are simple, with onscreen cues offering ample guidance. Objectives are clear and rarely pose a challenge.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Beyond Blue is a game about ocean exploration and conservation for the Apple Arcade. Players swim through a huge aquatic world, finding and tracking wildlife while documenting and doing what they can to resolve any human-caused issues they encounter. A clear message about the importance of ocean conservation quickly emerges through both dialogue and discoveries, as well as a series of short live-action mini documentaries that show what real-world researchers and ecologists are doing to better understand sea life and humanity's impact upon it. The researchers are smart and caring people, interested in helping ocean creatures and compassionate towards people in their lives. There's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.

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What's it about?

BEYOND BLUE takes players deep into the ocean by putting them in the role of Mirai, a diver and researcher who uses the most advanced equipment available to better understand aquatic life. She employs scanners to document the behaviors of animals ranging from angelfish to orcas, deploys tracking devices to monitor them, and makes use of fish-like drones to conduct close-up examinations without being too invasive. Dives typically begin with Mirai using a line dangling from a high-tech buoy to identify and pinpoint sounds of interest. Players can then swim to each location to investigate, stopping to check out any fish or sea floor activity that looks interesting along the way. As the story progresses, Mirai's interest in a particular pod of sperm whales -- one of which is a newborn -- becomes clear, as does her concern that local human activity might be having an adverse impact on the health of the whale family. Between dives, Mirai returns to her submarine, where she communicates not only with her friends and colleagues on the surface ship to plan what to do next, but also her sister back home, who is kind and supportive, but also dealing with her own problems.

Is it any good?

For those fascinated with the ocean, the creatures that dwell within it, and humanity's impact on the aquatic world, this is the game they didn't know they wanted or needed. Beyond Blue delivers a beautiful marine journey filled with stunningly animated sea life, authentic underwater sounds, and a clear, admirable message about how people are interfering with nature. Each dive takes us deeper into a deep blue world alive with activity that we can explore via a simple and intuitive interface. You can paddle leisurely or swim quickly from place to place and scan interesting undersea life simply by focusing Mirai's attention on it for a second or two. And once you find your primary objective -- often a whale -- you can take your time analyzing its form and movements via a controllable drone, basking in the creature's beauty as Mirai and her colleagues discuss it over the radio.

What helps Beyond Blue stand out from (the relatively few) other underwater video game adventures is its focus on the people who are undertaking it. A Hollywood-quality voice cast and excellent writing makes you care not just about the creatures you're studying but also the researchers, each of whom has a history and their own personal interests. These interests, by the way, aren't always in alignment with those of their colleagues. And to top it all off, you get a glimpse at the real-world scientists who served as these characters' inspiration via the unlockable live-action mini-documentaries included, which only makes the efforts of the game's heroes feel more pressing and authentic. Beyond Blue provides a timely and compelling experience showing players not just what's at stake as humanity continues to interfere with ocean life, but also a glimpse into the lives of the people trying to help understand and preserve the wonders of the sea.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. Many games strive for excitement, but Beyond Blue delivers a more relaxing experience, so how did you feel emotionally and physically after each of your play sessions?

  • What are some things average people can do to protect the ocean? What do you think is the biggest problem facing aquatic wildlife right now?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love nature

Themes & Topics

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