A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players are encouraged to form an emotional bond with an inanimate object, which they are later forced to destroy. The chief antagonist is an overbearing maternalistic robot that offers cake in exchange for good behavior.
Violence & Scariness
In some of the puzzles, automated turrets fire on the player, splattering blood on nearby surfaces. There is no person-on-person violence.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game contains some blood, the potential for the player to die, and some violence against inanimate objects. Parents should also know that the game is set in a near future in which humans are mysteriously absent, with suggestions that they have met some disturbing but unspecified fate.
Is It Any Good?
Puzzle areas generally take the form of a room or series of rooms through which players must proceed in order to "win." The aperture gun makes it possible to create a portal in order to get to out-of-reach areas, drop onto moving platforms, or retrieve distant objects. That fairly simple formula produces some fiendish puzzles which invite the player to repeat them many times over. That's good, because the game is unfortunately quite short, with only a few hours of game play to finish off the main story. And finishing is required: the charming little song at the end makes the struggle well worth it.
Portal is an excellent game, the standout star of 2007's Half-Life 2:The Orange Box game compilation, which also included the Half-Life 2 saga and Team Fortress 2. As a stand-alone product, Portal includes no additional game content on top of what was included with The Orange Box, so those who own The Orange Box should not pick up this edition of Portal. But since The Orange Box is an M-rated title, if you have a teen looking for an interesting puzzler, this stand-alone version of Portal is an outstanding choice. It represents a new genre of game that combines the sophisticated physics of a first-person shooter with minimally-violent puzzle content.
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
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