A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Plan It Green: The Big Switch is the environmentalist's version of SimCity. This simulation game is reading-intensive, with eco-friendly facts popping up upon advancement of play. The pace of the game is slow, exacerbated by the lack of clear goals for "winning the game." In addition to building the city, players can engage in quests and arcade games for more points. Players can connect to the game via Facebook, but the social component doesn't kick in until Level 5. The user experience may feel low-tech compared to the other games.
What's it about?
In PLAN IT GREEN: THE BIG SWITCH, the player uses a combination of in-game currency (coins, hearts, energy, and supplies) to build an eco-friendly city. As the player advances levels, new environmentally friendly options open up as city additions, such as parks and eco-friendly housing. Each time the player collects coins, a new environmental fact is shared. Every few minutes there are additional currencies to collect from the existing properties. Players save up their currencies to build bigger items, such as houses and factories. The game is untimed -- players can leave the browser open, returning at their leisure.
Is it any good?
This is one of those games wherein the learning potential is high but the engagement is only so-so. The pace is slow because you have to wait for the currency to recharge, and it takes a long time to accumulate sufficient coins to create new buildings. Furthermore, it's hard to understand your progress. As a standalone game, this may be inaccessible for kids with lower reading comprehension, as the game is reading-heavy.
However, for those who persevere, it can be a great learning experience. The in-game content may prove valuable for adults and kids alike. The game highlights the latest green innovations and how this technology can impact a community. As such, for those who explore the game, the potential for increased knowledge and awareness is high.
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For kids who love simulations and learning
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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.