Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The main plot explores the nature of artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial mysteries, with additional threads touching on timely world topics including climate change and international scientific cooperation.
Positive Role Models
Emma Fisher, a British scientist, is a skilled problem solver with good intentions and a strong will to survive. The ship's artificial intelligence (the player's character) is largely bound to do what's instructed.
Ease of Play
Figuring out what to do and how to do it -- such as tracking down a system problem and then working out how to fix it -- can be quite challenging. Even moving around the small spaces can be surprisingly hard due to the lack of orientation in zero gravity.
Violence & Scariness
Action is focused on puzzles and exploration rather than combat, but players occasionally see dead bodies floating in the space station.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Dialogue contains infrequent instances of strong language, including the words "f--k" and "s--t."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Observation is a downloadable puzzle and exploration game for the PlayStation 4 and Windows PCs. The game is set aboard a space station that has undergone an unknown nearly catastrophic event. Players take on the role of the station's malfunctioning artificial intelligence as it attempts to help a surviving astronaut repair the station and search for other crew members. There isn't any combat, though players will encounter dead bodies. Dialogue contains strong language, including the F-word. Both the puzzles -- which typically involve fixing station systems -- and moving around in zero gravity can be quite challenging, due mostly to the game's high level of authenticity.
Is It Any Good?
This game's aimed squarely and unapologetically at space geeks, resulting in an unforgettable experience. Observation works hard to get scientific details right, from what it's like to exist and move around in a zero gravity environment to the practical systems required to operate a working space station. You may come away feeling as though you're returning from orbit rather than having just playing a game. This level of authenticity is impressive and praiseworthy, and will undoubtedly be appreciated by players passionate about space engineering. There are few, if any, games quite like it. But it may prove off-putting to others who don't want to wade through technical language (even if it is mostly just for show -- you definitely don't need to be a programmer or engineer to play) and are easily disoriented exploring an environment in which there's no up or down.
If you do fit into Observation's target audience, though, you'll be in for a rollicking ride. It delivers a tense, terrifying sci-fi story that takes us beyond Earth and into deeper galactic mysteries. The puzzles are satisfyingly tough, forcing players to be keenly observant, make connections between clues, and to read instructions carefully and thoroughly. Having us take on the role of the station's computer -- to become HAL 9000, in essence – rather than a crew member makes for a neat twist, forcing us to learn how to navigate the station through cameras and figure out how an artificial intelligence thinks. That SAM is somehow connected to the strange events within and without the station just makes it all the more intriguing. Observation is a terrific sci-fi mystery unlikely to disappoint fans of challenging puzzles and hard sci-fi storytelling.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Best Space Documentaries
Best Outer Space Apps and Games for Kids
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.See how we rate