A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn what animal cells consist of and how all the parts work together to function as a whole. They play six very different mini-games based on various cell functions. Kids practice multitasking and prioritization by playing multiple mini-games at once. Those who only want to play mini-games will still be learning, as the lessons are clearly integrated into the mini-games. Although these games about how cells function are slightly difficult at times, kids will enjoy their depth and the interesting array of challenges. By playing Cell Command, kids are exposed to a wide array of biological knowledge and cell physiology.
Kids learn problem-solving and multitasking skills by having to weigh the consequences of taking one action over another and prioritizing where to focus their attention. The game passively encourages healthy behavior. It also sets up kids as part of a crew and, eventually, that crew's leader.
Positive Role Models
Most of the characters always work as part of the team, supporting each other and even cross-training to build a better team. One of the characters shirks his responsibilities, albeit for moral reasons.
Ease of Play
Cell Command has thorough instructions and a long ramp-up period for difficulty. Kids are given the opportunity to replay completed levels, and each level is a bit harder than the last. The game saves after each mini-game and can be resumed at any time. The most difficult part for most kids will be the multitasking at higher levels.
Violence & Scariness
In an off-screen story line, a "ship" is battling viruses inside a human host. But kids don't actually witness "combat."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cell Command is a browser-based science game that teaches how cells work through a series of mini-games. The difficulty of playing three mini-games at once (as is needed at higher levels) can be overwhelming for some kids regardless of their age and could make them want to give up. There is light battle terminology used in reference to the story's development.
Is It Any Good?
In Cell Command, players learn how cells function in a human body, including the different jobs of each cell component. The game has in-depth educational information about each part of the cell and how it works, including effective teaching tools, such as a reference dictionary kids can turn to as needed. Each mini-game represents a real-life function of a cell, and the instructions for each go into detail about what kids are doing. Managing your team includes upgrading your ship, training your crew, and making commendations, which give you new special abilities in the mini-games. The gameplay is a bit slow and is basically six mini-games packaged into a learning experience about cell biology, but kids will come out of it knowing how cells work. The story line doesn't quite get wrapped up, but that just allows for continued play. Occasional typos don't take away from the overall experience.
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.