A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn the basic steps of being prepared for, and responding to, a natural disaster. They learn to make a plan, have an emergency kit ready, know which disasters can and cannot be forecast ahead of time. Players learn to be aware of their geographic location and which disasters are most likely to affect them, and how to respond to warnings. They also learn basic first-aid practices for how to treat minor injuries. By playing Disaster Hero, kids learn to understand and be aware of possible natural disasters that can occur where they live.
This game presents the message that no matter how young or old you are, you can help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you in the event of a disaster.
Positive Role Models
The central character in this game is named Dante Shields, and he proves to be a very worthy role model. Players can easily look up to him as he encourages them throughout their missions and imparts wisdom about disaster preparedness.
Ease of Play
The game has three levels of difficulty, aimed at providing a relevant and appropriate experience for kids ranging from 1st grade through 8th grade. Activities consist of both traditional video game-style mini-games that test hand-eye coordination and puzzle solving, and multiple-choice questions about disaster preparedness. Players don't need to be perfect; the game will coax them along even if they have trouble with the gameplay or the disaster questions.
Violence & Scariness
While there is discussion about disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, none of it is violent or graphically descriptive in nature.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disaster Hero is a free online game, developed in partnership with the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It was created to help teach kids what to do in the event of an emergency. It places emphasis on natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The educational content is the same as the information on FEMA's website; it is simply presented in a way that is more engaging and interesting to kids. They engage in various mini-games while taking quizzes about emergency preparedness. Players can choose their difficulty level, ranging from "Bronze" for kids in 1st to 3rd grade, to "Gold" for those in 7th and 8th grade.
Is It Any Good?
For some of the activities in Disaster Hero, there is a disconnect between the gameplay and the educational content. Some mini-games, for example, focus on speed and award players for getting through it as quickly as possible rather than studying the disaster preparedness tips. There is also a lot of unnecessary dialogue during the intermittent story scenes and dialogue. Rather than using this time to educate players about disaster preparedness, there is a lot of talk about the fictitious sci-fi world in which the game is set -- talk that is neither captivating nor pivotal to the gameplay or the overall message of the game.
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.