A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this National Geographic ecology-themed, building simulation game sends a wholly positive message. The game teaches kids about alternative energy and the complexities of building a green community and yet manages to keep the educational aspects fun and simple.
What's it about?
In PLAN IT GREEN, you're the mayor of Greenville and your job is to increase energy credits by designing green buildings and communities using four types of structures: residential, parks and recreation, commercial, and facilities such as power plants. As you work through each scenario you unlock bigger, more elaborate ways to save on energy costs, reduce pollution, and make your district as environmentally friendly as possible.
Like most building sims, you're required to meet certain goals in each level, such as build an eco-friendly home and outfit existing structures with solar panels, a garden, or other upgrades. You'll also need to keep the district happy and keep cash flowing, so there's a little bit of juggling of resources in order to complete the missions. Mostly, the game is quick-moving and easy.
Is it any good?
Plan It Green is a nice looking, accessible game that does it's part in raising awareness; players will be exposed to the concepts of wind farms, smart grids, hydro plants, as well as a few of the complexities of city planning. If you're looking for groundbreaking gameplay or in-depth analyis of environmental issues, this isn't the game. And that's a good thing, because the familiar style of play and absence of preachy and teachy tone make Plan It Green a nice experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about techniques for making homes and communities more ecologically friendly, which are explored in the game. Which of these can you apply in your own home? Are they realistic? It's also interesting to see the interconnected, chain reaction that occurs in greening; the community tax structure, revenue, and quality of life are all influenced by improvements that save energy and reduce waste.
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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.