A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Requires you to solve situational puzzles, use your wits to survive, but also to be a snoop, go places you're not supposed to go.
Positive Role Models
Player goes through doors he's not supposed to open. But he's also trying to save humanity. Players have to make life-or-death choices, get into discussions about their choices.
Ease of Play
Familiar to fans of point-and-click adventures, but some might find them complicated, especially since the game doesn’t explain anything.
Violence & Scariness
Features a lot of disturbing imagery, including numerous dead, bloody bodies. Players are attacked by strange creatures, including, in one instance, a toothy fish. Effects of being injured clearly illustrated in how your motion, vision are impaired.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One male monster has visible genitalia.
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Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents should know that SOMA is a psychologically frightening downloadable first-person-adventure game. Playing as a man who wakes up in a mysterious underwater base, players have to figure out how he got there and how he can escape, all while avoiding death at the hands of some freaky creatures. Along with numerous dead bodies, many of which are bloodied, there's a lot of disturbing imagery and scary moments to put players on edge. There also are moments when the player has to make a tough choice, such as whether or nor they should kill someone who wants to die. Characters express anguish with such obscenities as "f--k," "s--t," "hell," and other variations of this language. One male monster's penis is clearly visible.
Is It Any Good?
Thanks to its atmospheric visuals, evocative sound effects, and story-driven problems, this freaky adventure game is as scary as it is challenging. Though it sort of plays like a point-and-click adventure game but with real-time movement, SOMA owes just as much to such survival horror games as BioShock and the Dead Space series in how effectively it uses freaky imagery and moody sound effects to really put players on edge. Still, most of the action has you trying to solve situational puzzles while avoiding the bizarre creatures you come across. But the game also is frustrating for not explaining itself very well. You don't have a map or a compass or anything to indicate what you're supposed to do or where to go. Which is, admittedly, part of the fun: the exploring, and what would happen in this situation. But having no clue often makes this more frustrating then fun, especially when you get into the more open areas, where it's easy to get lost. It also has a lot of useless interactions, such as how you have to move the thumbstick to open the door you just clicked on instead of it just opening automatically like in most games. Still, for all its irritations, SOMA does a great job of pulling you into its nightmarish realm and giving you a good scare.
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.