A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
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.
Female and male researchers play equal and significant roles, which is shown in the game as well as in the unlockable mini-documentaries. Mirai notably acknowledges her grandmother as an ama freediver, who were traditionally female Japanese divers that explored the seas for pearls, as the person that made her interested in the ocean.
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Ease of Play
Movement and interactions with objects are simple, with onscreen cues offering ample guidance. Objectives are clear and rarely pose a challenge.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Beyond Blue is a game about ocean exploration and conservation for the Nintendo Switch, Windows PCs, and 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.
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.
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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.