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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While players must use strategic thinking to defeat their sinister opponent in card games and to solve the mysteries of the secrets in the cabin, the gameplay requires "blood sacrifice" of animals and even occasional self-mutilation.
Positive Role Models
Players are simply in a contest for their lives against a sinister supernatural opponent. Some cards are alive and provide some commentary about the suffering they experience.
Ease of Play
Players are expected to fail throughout the game, sometimes just to advance the story. It's also difficult to learn the rules of the game on the fly while also searching out the many secrets hidden throughout the cabin.
Violence & Scariness
Though there's no graphic depictions of blood or gore, there's still a lot of non-graphic violence. Animal cards are sacrificed to summon or power up other cards. Also, some items are by players used to self-mutilate (e.g., pulling a tooth to gain a score advantage).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inscryption is a horror themed strategic card/puzzle game available for download on Windows based PCs. Players compete against a mysterious opponent in a series of card battles, occasionally stepping away from the table and exploring the surrounding room for special items, puzzles, etc. While there's no graphic depictions of violence onscreen, there's a lot of implied violence, such as "sacrificing" animal cards to play more powerful cards and also using certain items to gain an advantage at the cost of apparent self-harm. Due to the game's horror element, it may be too intense for very young players.
Is It Any Good?
Things are often not what they first seem, because what starts off one way can often become something totally different once you start peeling back the layers. Such is the case with Inscryption. At first blush, the game comes across as a relatively simple card game with some slightly sinister undertones. It's creepy enough that your opponent-slash-gamemaster always skulks about deep in the shadows, with only a glowing pair of eyes staring you down. The, once your cards start talking to you, telling you of their suffering and trying to warn you about your host, things quickly take a darker turn. And once you first step away from the table and begin to examine the room you realize you're trapped in, that's when you start to really grasp the true nature of the game. This is more than just some normal card game. It's more than just a puzzle game too. This is psychologically intense survival horror.
Inscryption is almost as frustrating as it is entertaining at times. While there's a rulebook available to explain the basics of the gameplay, it doesn't help when those rules seem to change at the whim of the gamemaster and stack the proverbial (and sometimes literal) deck against you. Stepping aside from the table and into the "escape room" styled cabin is even more vague. The host might tell you to pick up a specific item for some reason, but there's so much more you can interact with. There are numerous secrets hidden throughout the cabin, as well as more than a few red herrings. And since the host isn't keen on you escaping his grasp, he's never very forthcoming with information in your favor. This means a lot of the game is trial and error, and that means a lot of dying and restarting as a new challenger. Still, as frustrating as it can be, with each playthrough, you learn a little bit more and make a bit more progress. As a result, escape always feels like it's just barely outside of your reach and the next match might finally be the one leading you to freedom.
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.