Parents' Guide to


By Paul Semel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Frightening, mature, challenging underwater adventure.

Game PlayStation 4 , Windows 2015
SOMA Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

An absolute masterpiece that depends on your child's maturity and smarts

Soma is a philosophical science-fiction horror masterpiece that addresses issues of how we deal with death, how we may move forward and progress as a technological species, and other evermore pertinent issues we are either already or will deal with in our lifetimes. It is a game that confronts fears pretty brutally, with many depictions of body horror and monsters. It also has good puzzles that aren't too difficult but still provide good challenge and stimulation for the mind. If the monsters are too scary and/or too fast for your child, they can play on "safe" mode which retains the challenge of the puzzles and the overall experience of the story, but allows players to focus on that more, as the monsters can no longer harm the player. Soma's thoughtful messages are strong and beautiful, but can easily fly over the head of someone who just wants to beat it quickly and have some spooky laughs. There is a fair deal of swearing from time to time, but its used only in the heat of the moment, in the context of crisis and tough situations. This is opposed to say, a gangster telling someone he's going to "f*** them up", or for someone glorifying swearing for the sake of it. There's also a small scene with a monster in the nude, and the nudity is not the focus of the scene and most people playing the game don't even notice the monster is fully nude. (I sure didn't until I read about it later.) One very nice thing about this game as well, is that there are no predatory game mechanics- it is not a highly addicting game, nor does it offer any pay-for downloadable content. The average player will play for a couple hours or so on a friday and saturday, get immersed in the world for awhile and pondering life's deeper questions, and then take a break to get outside more, go be creative, go live their life etc. before coming back to it. Even the most unmotivated of kids won't usually want to get hooked playing a scary game like this all day, though to really appreciate it they should play for at least 1 hour at a time. (It's a deep experience, not arcadey.) Ultimately, the age of a child playing this game is going to depend heavily on both their emotional and social maturity, and their intelligence. The youngest age almost any child should ever play this is at least 13 or 14 if they are very bright. Others easily may not be ready for this game til they are 16. I wouldn't recommend stopping a child from playing this past the age of 16, unless they struggle with nightmares and trauma that they are not receiving treatment for. (In which case, please get them to a good therapist, and be sensitive to their needs and feelings yourself, too.) This game is a masterpiece that should be more appreciated, just don't show it to the younguns!

This title has:

Great messages
Easy to play/use
1 person found this helpful.
age 16+


Language: Strong Sex: None Violence: Some Blood and Gore Other: Strong Horror
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (6 ):

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.

Game Details

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