Set inside the bloodstream, this sci-fi shooter is unique.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

At its heart, this is an action game -- and there's a lot of shooting involved -- but your main goal as you play is to rid a human body of a potentially lethal infection.

Positive role models

There aren't many real characters in the game, but as the infection-fighting microbot, you can at least know you're on the side of the life-savers. Although a plot twist later in the game may make raise doubts about that.

Ease of play

The controls work very well, although steering through the fluid-filled levels may take some getting used to. Luckily, the first few levels are made easy enough for you to take your time practicing the ropes before things get rough.

Violence & scariness

This game is set inside the bloodstream of a body. As a microscopic ship, swimming through veins and arteries, you will use energy weapons to blast body cells that have become infected by nanobots (meaning the cells have a little robot inside them). Bad cell-bots disintegrate when destroyed. Though the ESRB warns about "animated blood" in the game, you won't see anybody bleeding.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Microbot is a downloadable sci-fi action shooter with some semi-realistic science elements since the game takes place inside the human body. Don't expect kids to walk away from the game with a newfound knowledge of human anatomy; although it's very possible that the game could stir up some interest in learning more about biology. While there is a lot of laser-blasting going on, all the violence occurs between microscopic robots within a human bloodstream. There's blood in the game, but only as part of the environment.

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What's it about?

In MICROBOT, you take control of a microscopic robo-ship that is injected into a human bloodstream (you'll actually get to swim down the syringe, through the skin, and into a vein) in order to zap away armies of cell-mutating nanobots that have infected the mystery patient. The bad bots take over cells and turn them into mini-ships equipped with weapons that will attack your Microbot. You need to take out the bad guys and discover the source of this bizarre infection.

Is it any good?


The first thing you'll notice about Microbot is just how gorgeous the visuals are. Then you'll quickly realize how unique and interesting the movement in the game is -- steering through fluids of various densities feels totally different from steering, say, a spaceship in a standard sci-fi shooter. There are lots of power-ups to find, ways to upgrade your weapons and defenses, a nice variety of enemies and obstacles, and even a surprisingly interesting plot. If you're looking for an inexpensive downloadable game, and hope for a unique and exciting experience, Microbot may be just what the doctor ordered.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether a video game can inspire curiosity in the real-world subject that it deals with. Does playing Microbot make you interested in learning more about biology and anatomy? When a new type of cell or anatomical structure appears onscreen, do you want to know what it is?

  • This is one of the rare E-rated shooting games. How do you feel about violence in video games? Why is this shooting less of a problem than in other games?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:December 29, 2010
ESRB rating:E for Animated Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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