A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Celebrity gossip is at the heart of the game. The fake celebrities in the game engage in negative behaviors such as cheating on lovers and unsafe sex (implied by the surprise pregnancy). They also get plastic surgery. The heroine becomes a success by digging into and reporting on the personal lives of celebrities, and often uses illicit means to get her information. In the one story that centers around plastic surgery, the protagonist does try to tell the reconstructed celebs that they looked better before and didn't need the work.
Positive Role Models
Gaby, the blogger who stars in the game, lives to dig up personal information about celebrities and reveal it on the Internet. She gets her information from informants, and often breaks laws to get the juiciest bits of gossip. She sneaks into hotel rooms, hacks into computers, swipes medical records, and the like. She occasionally expresses remorse for doing so, but justifies it to herself with lines like, "I hate to do this, but my readers really need to know." The one bit of positive messaging she expresses is that women don't need plastic surgery to be beautiful. Almost all the celebrities in the game are obviously negative role models.
Ease of Play
The main gameplay element is seek-and-find picture puzzles, which can be handled by anyone. Each hide-and-seek game is followed by a different kind of puzzle game that provides more mental challenge, but is never frustratingly difficult. These can be jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, memory puzzles, code-breaking puzzles, or similar brain games.
Violence & Scariness
There is a "catfight" between two actresses, shown in still pictures, in which they are choking each other, pulling one another's hair, or engulfed in a cartoon-like ball of dust with arms and legs jutting from it.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No sexual encounters are shown in the game, but [SPOILER] a sexual affair is a major plot point in one of the stories. One male celebrity is cheating on two women and gets one pregnant. In the visuals of the game, there are many shirtless men and women in bikinis, with cleavage showing. In many scenes, a man is seen obviously ogling a scantily clad woman.
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There is no profanity, but there is talk of illicit affairs and surprise pregnancies.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many people are seen holding drinks in the game. While none of those drinks are specified as alcohol, several appear to be. And at least one man holding a drink appears to be staggering as if drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while the gameplay involved in this story-based puzzler is simple enough for younger gamers to handle, the subject matter is very adult. Nothing is ever graphic, but the stories that Gaby the blogger uncovers range from [SPOILER] a secret celebrity wedding and the surprise reunion of a boy band to a plastic surgery epidemic among starlets and a love triangle that leads to an unplanned pregnancy and a physical fight. It really is the kind of material you'd find on a celebrity gossip web site -- only amplified to cartoonish levels. Gaby is a terrible role model for kids and constantly does unethical and sometimes criminal things. Teens (and tweens) will glom onto stories like these, so parents should exercise caution is choosing this game.
Is It Any Good?
Gotcha! Celebrity Secrets is designed as a casual game and it succeeds, providing hours of enjoyable, not-too-difficult gameplay. Fans of Where's Waldo and I Spy games in particular can have a lot of fun with the increasingly challenging people hunts (people you need to seek out are first assigned to you as full-body shots, but as the game goes one, you may get headshots only, or silhouettes, or just verbal descriptions). And the brain-teaser type games in between give a much-appreciated dose of variety. The major problem with Gotcha is that the typical fans of Where's Waldo and I Spy are kids, and it's safe to say that this game is not for kids. All the over-the-top behavior in the game is meant to be tongue-and-cheek, but young players may not get the farcical humor of it all and merely take it on face value. Tweens and teens may easily be attracted by not just the gameplay style, but the salacious subject matter, so parents need to be sure they're around to filter the messages coming through. Still, the game is fun -- if you're old enough to understand its humor and to not take its inappropriate blogging methods as modeling good behavior.
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.