Etch A Sketch

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Etch A Sketch Game Poster Image
A fun and refreshingly different puzzle game.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Minor cartoon violence such as exploding crates near an enemy spider.


The game is based on the Etch A Sketch toy, but doesn't try to sell you on it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know this game is ideal for players of all ages, though some of the puzzles in the main story mode can be quite tricky to solve and may be too challenging for younger or novice gamers.

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What's it about?

Who could forget the beloved 50 year-old children's toy, Etch A Sketch. You know, that rectangular red and grey gizmo that lets you unleash your creativity by using knobs to draw horizontal and vertical lines on a blank screen, and then shake it to start over? Of course you do. Now you can download a digital version of this classic toy, which goes above and beyond the original in the game-play department. In fact, it's really a few separate games and activities in one, and well worth the $20 purchase.

ETCH A SKETCH – yep, it's still goes by the same name – is a casual game with four individual modes available from the main menu. The meatiest is \"Knobby's Quest,\" a story-driven campaign that puts a spin on classic fairy tales. You play as Knobby, a small circular and grey dude, who must navigate through obstacle-laden levels to reach the portal at the end, while also finding artifacts and rescuing hapless little creatures called Knergies (presumably pronounced \"kinergies\"). It may look like a platformer game, and yes, there's a bit of jumping and gem-collecting involved, but it's really a puzzle game because you must study the path Knobby must take and draw lines to help him get there, such as drawing a ramp from a low spot to a higher one, blocking the path of a nasty creature or drawing a line from ignited TNT to explosive boxes to free Knergies.

Is it any good?

Other game modes include "Knobby's Bounce" (which resembles the classic "Arkanoid" or "Breakout" arcade games) and "Etch," where you use the four arrows to draw on the screen, and then save or print your creation. You can also email your drawing to someone -- right from within the game -- but when I sent myself an email with a crudely-drawn house, it never arrived in my inbox. The final mode is a "Color Sketch" art studio that lets you import your black and white drawings to color them and use other tools to dress them up. Great idea! A few pre-made pieces of art are included, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how many of the classic toys and board games from yesteryear are enjoying a digital rebirth in the 21st century. Is this a good thing for nostalgia sake or is it a blatant attempt to cash in on an old, sentimental favorite?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Freeze Tag
  • Release date: July 7, 2008
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: NR
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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