Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Journey Game Poster Image
Beautiful adventure less a game than interactive poetry.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about and explore what life is and means. While this might sound lofty, these ideas and questions are elegantly posed, and at the heart of the learning value. This is an experience that builds so-called "soft skills," those behaviors and ways of being that make kids better people. And by playing with someone else, kids' experiences can be truly profound because the themes of companionship, loneliness, friendship, love, and loss take on extra weight and power. Journey is compact yet deep, accessible yet profund, and it begs to be played, understood, and discussed.

Positive Messages

The anonymous, cooperative online element suggests that life's challenges are easier when strangers pause to help one another. Joyful exploration and dedicated perseverance are running themes throughout the experience. 

Positive Role Models

The player's avatar, an entity without gender with glowing eyes and flowing robe, is also without voice. However, through your actions this creature proves to be curious, resourceful, adventurous, cooperative, and devoted to its goals.

Ease of Play

This is an extremely easy game. While only a bare minimum of instruction is provided, both the controls and your objectives are highly intuitive. Once players have become acquainted with the game's controls during the opening level, it's unlikely that they will get "stuck" for the rest of the game. 


A large stone serpent may occasionally bump into and send the player's avatar sprawling. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Journey is less a video game and more a work of interactive poetry. Aside from a couple of scenes with ominous music and a flying stone serpent that might prove a little scary to very young kids, the game is safe and innocuous for all ages. It's also very easy to play. That said, its ideas and themes are subtle enough that they risk going unappreciated by younger players, who may simply grow bored. It is a meditative and reflective work the value of which stems from the player's ability to find personal meaning in what he or she experiences. It's perfectly safe for the whole family, but recommended for older kids and adults.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytarmac September 15, 2020

Brilliant !

A touching journey. Very sad and wise story.
Adult Written bykiteless April 14, 2020

A great intro to gaming for young children

My daughter is no stranger to screens, having a tablet for educational games (and the odd fluff), but she hasn't been exposed to any traditional console o... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 18, 2012

Beautiful, touching PS3 game that shows that you don't need narrative to have a beautiful story

I love this game so much. the graphics are excellent and there is great messages, since this is about life, death, and rebirth. Though kids under five might be... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAnonymous467 August 18, 2020

Gorgeous Game

Journey is very short, but incredibly stunning and beautiful. No sex, nudity, alcohol, violence, or swearing. This game is family friendly and appropriate for a... Continue reading

What's it about?

JOURNEY, a new interactive experience from the same folks who brought us 2009’s critically adored Flower, isn’t what one normally expects of a game. There aren't any enemies to destroy or even much in the way of obstacles to overcome. It is instead, as its name implies, a voyage. Your avatars -- glowing-eyed creatures dressed in short, flowing robes -- are compelled to move toward a distant mountain. Beginning in the middle of a desert filled with majestic, sand-covered ruins, players slide over dunes and float on both wind and magical energy. Your avatar's scarf, which is slowly lengthened as you locate glowing glyphs scattered around the world, is what powers your flight. Players may occasionally need to stop to activate magical bridges or hide behind stones to avoid powerful gusts of wind, but the experience is, by and large, one of forward momentum.

Journey is also an experience of companionship. While the game can be completed alone, players are constantly connected to the Internet while playing. You occasionally run into other players on the same journey with whom you can choose to cooperate and enjoy the journey together.

Is it any good?

Journey might rightly be taken as an allegory for all of the great journeys we undertake in our lives, be they physical, spiritual, or metaphorical. It’s about persevering through the hardships of a long pilgrimage. It’s about the instinctual drive to return home after time spent in far off places. It’s about discovering camaraderie in strangers who share a similar purpose. Like all art, Journey is about finding personal meaning in a swell of imagery, sound, and narrative.

Journey won’t be to all tastes. It's not a test of skill, though gamers are likely to take pleasure in the simple interface, which allows for precise control over your avatar's flowing movement. And it's not the sort of experience in which your performance is measured by something as crude as a score, though those interested can attempt to scour the game's world for hidden items and locations that will earn trophies for their PlayStation Network accounts. What it is is a fond memory waiting to happen; an experience of beauty, originality, and emotion that will leave an indelible imprint on the intellect of players mature and open-minded enough to let its magic work. More like this, please.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about finding personal meaning in games. Do video games ever cause you to reflect on your own life? Have you ever learned something about yourself from a game?

  • Families can also discuss the notion of anonymous cooperative play. How does your behavior change when you cannot communicate with another player or affect his or her avatar? Do you think it encourages online behavior of a more civil nature than is normally found in games?

  • Are you drawn to more creative, indie games? Why or why not?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love creative games

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