A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Grounded is a survival adventure game available for download on Xbox One and Windows-based PCs. Players find themselves shrunken down and forced to survive the dangers of their now oversized backyard through combat, crafting, and strategy. Players can take on the challenge solo or with up to three friends in online multiplayer. Violence comes mainly from hunting bugs for both food and crafting material or from defending oneself against larger predatory insects such as different breeds of spiders. There's some minor language that can be found in the audio and text logs that players find scattered throughout the game, and online multiplayer could expose players to offensive language from others in party chat.
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What's it about?
GROUNDED is a survival game that's small in scale but big on adventure. After stumbling into a science research experiment gone awry, four young kids find themselves shrunken down and stranded in the strange world that exists in their backyard. In order to survive, these kids must explore the oversized world around them, hunting for food and water, crafting tools, and finding shelter from the perils that could lie behind the next blade of grass. You'll work together with up to three friends in online multiplayer or go it alone and prove your mettle in solo action. Do you have what it takes to confront swarms of giant insects, or will you become a tasty snack trapped in the web of a nearby spider? Prove that size doesn't matter as you try to survive long enough to uncover the deeper mystery behind your current pint-sized predicament ... and maybe find your way back home.
Is it any good?
There are many things you might see and take for granted in your everyday life, like a half-empty juice box tossed on the lawn or a prickly little thistle plant that refuses to go away. Now, what if you were somehow shrunk to the size of an insect, like what happens to the characters in Grounded? Well, those discarded and forgotten nuisances suddenly take on a whole new purpose and might be key to surviving to see another sunrise. That juice box suddenly becomes an oasis to prevent thirst, and thorns from that thistle become a bundle of arrows for your trusty handcrafted bow. In Grounded, survival is all a matter of seeing things from a different perspective.
One of the appealing things about Grounded is that, as outlandish as its premise is, the game still feels somewhat believable. Crafting tools, building shelter, and otherwise making due with what resources are available genuinely feels like what one might do in a real survival situation. Even the bugs in the game seem to act and react in a realistic manner. Worker ants will address players with a moment of curiosity before going back to work, while an encounter with a soldier ant can quickly become a deadly meeting. Players must constantly monitor things like hunger, thirst, and sleep while harvesting resources and avoiding the constant threat of spiders looking to turn them into an instant snack. Meanwhile, there's still an actual story to uncover along the way. It's a daunting task requiring a lot of patience and forethought. Navigating the game's multiple menus doesn't help the situation either, because it's not exactly the most user-friendly interface. Making matters worse, the game doesn't pause while players are in the menu screens, often leaving players open and vulnerable at the worst possible time. But if you can look past the menu issues and the threat of insects, Grounded could be the next adventure you want to explore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about science and nature. What are some examples of the wildlife you might take for granted living in your backyard? How can games like Grounded inspire younger players to learn more about plants, insects, and nature in general?
If you are lost in the woods, what are some of the immediate things you might need to survive? How would you go about finding food, building shelter, etc.? What would be some ways to use creativity to overcome obstacles?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox One Series X
- Subjects: Science: animals, plants
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, problem solving, thinking critically
Creativity: combining knowledge
Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Xbox Game Studios
- Release date: July 28, 2020
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Bugs, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood, Drug Reference, Language
- Last updated: September 20, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.