A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pode is a downloadable cooperative puzzle exploration game available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. Players control the duo of a small stone and star as they work together to ascend a mountain and help the star make its way back to the sky. The game has simple controls and gameplay that's easy to pick up for players of all ages. There's some difficulty in completing some of the stages, especially alone, but there are no time limits or added pressure to complete any tasks. While there's no dialogue in the game, Pode still manages to bring a lot of personality to the characters, while focusing on the friendship and teamwork aspects of their relationship.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
PODE is a cooperative puzzle exploration game set within an artistic tale of friendship and teamwork. The story revolves around Bulder, a small rock with a big heart, and its new friend Glo, a fallen star searching for a way to get back home. To get Glo back in the sky, the duo embarks on a quest through Mount Fjellheim, breathing new life into a magical mountain along the way. Bulder and Glo will have to work together, solving ancient puzzles to open up new pathways leading to Mount Fjellheim's summit. Gamers can play alone, switching between Bulder and Glo, or take advantage of couch co-op play to bring a friend into the adventure and explore a colorful world inspired by Norwegian art and culture.
Is it any good?
There are plenty of games where you can compete with or against your buddies for dominance, but few and far between are the gaming experiences you can truly share with a friend. Pode, though, is one of those rare gems, a relaxing non-competitive puzzler that's best enjoyed with a friend by your side. The game's music and art design create a serene experience that's a stark contrast to the high-stress, competitive nature of most co-op games. The fun comes from working together, thinking out solutions for getting from Point A to Point B, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with moving forward. Sure, the game can be played alone, with a single player switching roles between Bulder and Glo on the fly, but the camaraderie and teamwork between two actual players, mirrored by the friendship and cooperation of the on-screen duo, is a big part of the magic of the game.
Pode is, at its core, a very simple puzzle game. Each character interacts with the environment in its own unique way. As a rock, Bulder affects mineral deposits on the ground and moves freely through pools of water, while the fallen star Glo can uncover things hidden in the shadows and cause plants to grow. There's a gradual difficulty curve that keeps some challenge in the game as players progress, but it never feels so difficult that it gets frustrating. Pode also has a certain charm that's hard to ignore, with players getting emotionally invested in the journey. It's a wonderful and surprisingly striking adventure, but it becomes something truly special when shared.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship and teamwork. What are some good ways to develop strong friendships, and how can friends help during rough times? What are some of the advantages to working with friends to overcome obstacles?
How can video games like Pode help to develop a child's problem-solving skills, and how can what's learned from a game translate over into the real world?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, problem solving, solving puzzles
Creativity: brainstorming, combining knowledge
Communication: friendship building
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Henchman & Goon
- Release date: June 21, 2018
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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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.