Black Closet

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Black Closet Game Poster Image
Engaging social strategy game gently addresses adult themes.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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. 

Sex

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. 

Language
Consumerism
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. 

What 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.

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What's it about?

BLACK CLOSET is about running the student council at a private all-girls boarding school. The goal (as set by the principal) is twofold: Help students get good grades while doing things that raise the school's reputation, and prevent students from getting into trouble that would cause a scandal. Players are given limited time frames in which to solve problems using a team of student council minions; they also must discover which of the council members is working against them. 

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in media in games such as Black Closet. Is the violence OK because it's never actively shown on-screen? Why do you think the designers chose not to show violence in the game?

  • Talk about going to boarding school. Do you have an idea from movies, TV, or books of whether you'd like boarding school? 

  • Discuss school rules. Do you think it's important to follow the rules? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love adventure

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