A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Emphasizes conformity, discipline, the idea that "your life is ruined" if you don't get into a good college. Still, it also examines ideas of friendship, loyalty, teamwork, professional camaraderie.
Positive Role Models
Characters have as many good traits as bad. Player character can choose to be rude, aggressive or kind, compassionate; other characters exhibit various degrees of congeniality, vanity, belligerence, deceitfulness.
Ease of Play
Controls are easy, but on default difficulty achieving the game's main goal (to uncover a traitor) is challenging in the set time frame. Even more challenging to do while maintaining a good reputation.
Violence & Scariness
No violence shown, but descriptions of people fighting, being pushed down stairs. One case has bombs being set in a school, but no one dies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Vague talk of making out, discussion of age of consent, suggestive poetry, flirting, an instance of two girls shown in underwear. Multiple same-sex romantic possibilities, including gentle kisses, fade-to-black scene between two girls explicitly described as 18 years of age.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Students mentioned as drinking, smoking, doing drugs, but always viewed as bad things that need to be stopped. One power-up is a syringe that provides a sedative, although this causes skill penalties and also is seen as bad.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Closet is a downloadable teen-themed adventure game that examines common teen problems such as peer pressure, bullying, drinking/smoking/drug use, and teen romance. The point of the game is to work as the president of the student council to help students solve their problems, prevent underage kids from engaging in adult activities, and keep them safe. Though no violence is ever shown, there's talk of fights, kids being pushed downstairs, and a school-bombing plot. There's also a lot of suggestive talk, including suggestive poetry and making out between characters, as well as implied contact between two students who are 18. Students frequently mentioned as drinking, smoking, or doing drugs, but it's frequently seen as a bad thing, just as using a syringe as a power-up is seen as a bad thing. Players also should be aware that the game is hard, even on the easy setting, which could boost frustration.
Is It Any Good?
You're the newly elected student body president, and your job is equal parts status and stress as you take the reins of power and get acquainted with your council member minions. Though sporting the lengthy text and anime-style graphics of an interactive novel, there's more to Black Closet than conversations. Each week you're given problems (runaways, bad grades, bullying, theft) and must assign student minions to solve them. These people come in a variety of personality types -- shy, outgoing, friendly, intimidating -- and success means choosing the right girl for the right job. Finding quick, effective solutions is the key to maintaining a strong but approachable image and earning points that can be used to raise your minions' skills; failure to resolve issues means that both your and the school's reputation suffers. Getting a handle on all this can be hard at first thanks to an insufficient tutorial, but an online reference can help walk you through the basics. Until the rules sink in, nice character graphics, moody music, and teen melodrama keep things interesting, as do an array of tongue-in-cheek power-ups (such as a baseball bat that increases "Intimidation"), multiple story lines, and a custom campaign mode.
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.