A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Overcoming trauma, learning to treat others with kindness, and respecting the boundaries of friends and family members are some of the many positive messages the game touches on.
Positive Role Models
While many characters have issues with their personalities, several grow into excellent role models. Characters Takuma and Aoi are particularly good role models, and display a great deal of compassion and empathy.
Most characters are teenage Japanese boys and girls, but each represents a different point of view and upbringing. They are joined by many monsters with their own lifestyles and personalities.
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Ease of Play
The visual novel portion of the game is very straightforward, with limited decision-making that's clearly communicated to the player. Strategic RPG battles have a lot more going on, but tutorials and flexible difficulty options make them manageable for players of nearly all skill levels.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is a core part of the story and gameplay. Characters hurt each other somewhat regularly; some die violently on-screen. Monsters attack each other during battles, but the effects are abstract and cartoonish. Story-related injuries are still cartoonish but feel more realistic and upsetting to look at. No gore is shown, but a stylized blood splatter appears on the screen during these moments.
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Infrequent swearing. Words used include "damn," "hell," "s--t," and "pissed."
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Products & Purchases
As a part of the Digimon franchise, there are numerous other related games, TV shows, and merchandise products available for purchase.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Digimon Survive is an adventure game and strategy role-playing game (RPG) available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. It's the latest title in the Digimon franchise. You control Takuma Momozuka, a Japanese teenager in the middle of a fieldtrip to the countryside, as he and several of his classmates are transported to another world. Most of the gameplay is exploring 2D environments looking for clues, talking to other characters, and making important decisions that affect the game's story. The story focuses on teamwork, empathy, and compassion as well. Occasionally the game will have combat sections, which are top-down strategic RPG battles fought by friendly monsters that bond with Takuma and the others. These battles are violent but cartoonish, but portions of the story feature slightly more upsetting imagery, including stylized on-screen blood splatters. There's infrequent swearing, including the words "s--t" and "damn."
Is It Any Good?
This hybrid adventure-strategy RPG thrives due to its excellent characters and despite an agonizingly slow start. Digimon Survive has you take control of Takuma Momozuka, a teenager trapped in a different world filled with monsters. The game is split into phases, including a story, exploration, and a free time phase. During the exploration and free time phases, you talk to other characters that are also stuck in this new world, explore your new environment, and interact with the monsters that already inhabit that world as you struggle to find a way to survive. Combat occurs in the story as strategic top-down battles that require you to tactically deploy and control friendly monsters against other hostile monsters. Decisions made during dialogue with other characters can have far-reaching effects on the story, and can influence how Agumon, Takuma's bonded monster, grows over time.
The story takes a long time to get started. You're introduced to nearly all of the central characters, including your classmates, well before you get transported to the other world. This results in a story that drags its feet before taking off in more interesting directions. Thankfully, it pays off. The cast are dynamic, well-written characters, which makes the decisions that affect their safety and well-being feel impactful. The game excels at handling serious issues that real children experience in thoughtful ways, and explores how being thrust into a dangerous, and occasionally lethal, situation affects their relationships and mental health. Digimon Survive is surprisingly dark, and the violence feels much more realistic than the cartoonish look would suggest. But the way the game treats its characters is sympathetic, and it focuses on positive messages about how people should treat each other. The battles are a welcome distraction from the game's slower pace, but they lack the depth of other strategy games that focus more heavily on combat encounters. There are some difficulty spikes along the way, but flexible options should allow most players to find a way to progress. Ultimately there's a lot to love in Digimon Survive, but only if you can deal with the slow pace.
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