Parents' Guide to

Democracy 4

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Cold, calculated simulation of the political machine.

Game Windows 2020
Democracy 4 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+

Great educational value for older teens or adults

A great game to learn about the the politics, however it's mostly a spreadsheet-based game, where you have to process a lot of statistics and interconnections, which, while being quite revealing to older teenagers or adults, most younger kids will neither understand, nor find captivating. Also, the game evokes some heavy topics unsuitable for younger audiences like war, discrimination, political oppression, substances, sexual assault and others.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 12+

Excellent game for learning about politics

An amazing political sandbox game that puts you as president and allows you to do whatever you feel is best for the country. Great game for learning if your son is interested in politics. Probably the best part is that it's pretty unbiased and makes people more open minded, as it shows you the advantages and disadvantages of each political position/opinion you may take or face.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Everyone's heard the term "playing politics" before, and this series has let players do that for more than fifteen years now with its government simulation games. Democracy 4 is the biggest, most complex entry in the series to date, boasting new features such as a three party system, options to join and govern as part of a coalition, and the use of emergency powers to bypass the democratic process. There's also a whole host of new and modern policies to track and manage, including racial and transgender rights, legalization of drugs, police use of tasers and body cameras, and more. Underneath it all is a custom-built neural network that's meant to mimic the beliefs and biases of an entire country's worth of individual opinions. There's a lot that goes into trying to manage a democratic nation, and that's the biggest issue facing the game. Simply put, it's information overload.

Democracy 4 isn't a flashy game with CGI cutscenes, a huge story arc filled with character development, or fast-paced action to keep you on the edge of your seat. The bulk of it reads like a massive flowchart, with every available policy and law showing just how any change would affect multiple other categories. It's information overload on a grand scale, challenging players to find some kind of balance among the chaos. What's harder still is that in its drive to be a bias free simulation, it risks becoming morally ambiguous at times. For example, a player needing to raise their popularity with religious conservatives might heavily restrict the rights of the LGBTQ+ community to cull favor. Democracy 4 is a cold, calculated look at the political machine that operates behind the curtain of civility. It feels less like a game and more like what you'd get if you took a masters course in Civics and World Government taught with a Choose Your Own Adventure textbook.

Game Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate