Firewatch

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Firewatch Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Mystery set in wilderness is challenging, captivating.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

There are choices you have to make, consequences for them. But there's a gray area in decisions, as they're made under extreme circumstances with no clear-cut "right," "wrong." 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Henry tries to do right thing to protect people as often as he can, but he's not without his faults. His choices -- yours -- can sometimes be insensitive, selfish.

Ease of Play

You'll get lost in the woods; there's just no getting around it. Sometimes even using your compass, map carefully, you'll still be unsure where to go.

Violence
Sex
Language

Frequent cursing, mainly "s--t," "f--k." Some flirtatious dialogue.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

You can find empty beer cans, even a bottle of whiskey, which you can't drink. Occasional references to marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Firewatch is a downloadable adventure that's all about exploration, patience, and wandering a forest while having a story being told to you largely by the environment. You won't see another character out in the woods, only sometimes silhouettes, and your main interactions with others is done through your radio or listening to audio cassettes. You don't kill things or hurt other people. You wander around and talk to people through walkie-talkies, trying to figure out what's going on in the wilderness after a fire. There's frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as some flirtation between characters, and though you can't use alcohol or drugs, there are some references to beer, whiskey, and marijuana.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byIan F. February 13, 2020

Rewarding, story-driven game with themes on the realities and complexities of adulthood - only older teens might relate

There is a lot to love about Firewatch from its simple gameplay and clear structure to its superb voice acting and lush visuals. It's an interactive story... Continue reading
Adult Written bySannyan February 5, 2020
I love how there's nothing shown in the sex section because there's clearly a scene where the main character is shown naked in a drawing and little bi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byreveal February 10, 2016
Teen, 13 years old Written byNotdocgst123 February 20, 2016

An original, engrossing story about the creation of a relationship.

Firewatch is a fantastic and mature character study set in the woods of Wyoming. You play as Henry, voiced by Mad Men's Harry Crane. As established in the... Continue reading

What's it about?

In FIREWATCH, you play as Henry, a 39-year-old man estranged from his wife when she gets diagnosed with early onset dementia and Alzheimer's, causing her family to take her back to Australia. All this happens before the game starts, and the "action" kicks off when you decide to start a job as a fire lookout at the Shoshone National Forest. You hold the job for a single summer, performing various routine tasks until a pair of unruly teenagers drinking in the woods starts pointing you toward something perhaps more sinister happening deeper in the forest -- and learn that you're being framed for it. 

Is it any good?

This adventure goes from a slow crawl to a fairly captivating and strange mystery, which means you'll need to stick with it for a bit longer than you might initially like, but it's worth it. There's a learning curve to, essentially, unlearning what a lot of video games have taught you: that you can navigate any area easily thanks to an on-screen mini-map. There's no such thing here, and you have to dutifully consult a compass and map to point yourself in the right direction -- be it to find how to make your way to smoky areas out in the woods or get to a specific creek. Just because you know something is west of where you are doesn't mean you can simply point yourself in that direction and go. You'll need to look all around for drops to take or rock faces to climb. That also means you can, and will, get lost repeatedly. And although the map isn't enormous, it's big enough for you to unintentionally go in circles and loops.

But when the game unfolds as intended, with engaging dialogue between yourself and your boss, Delilah, the game develops extremely well. You buzz in to report on everything you find, and as you're new on the job, she's able to get you up to speed on what you're seeing and where to go next. When the aforementioned mystery -- conspiracy? -- that's best left unspoiled here starts to set in, you'll start wondering whether you can trust Delilah, or whether you can trust the feelings that start to develop between you and she. Do you try to make it work with your wife? Will you survive the summer? Will you end up arrested and implicated for a mysterious crime you didn't commit? These questions all run through your mind as you work through Firewatch, which makes it well worth sticking through to the very end. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cabin fever. When you go stir crazy or haven't had human contact in a while, what do you do to keep it together? 

  • If you suspected someone was spying on you, how would you find out what was going on without letting them know you were onto them? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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