A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Clara advocates for equality and reinforces that women are equally capable as men. The game also focuses on loyalty and friendship as significant qualities for people to have and focus on in life.
Positive Role Models
Actions in game depend on the player, to an extent, but the main characters generally showcase positive qualities -- and Peter continues to push forward to save himself and his friend, despite having every reason to stop.
Clara and Peter stand out as intellectual equals during the 1960s, which defines their relationship, but also indicates how unique they happen to be in society. Clara, in particular, indicates how she doesn't want to settle as a housewife.
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Ease of Play
The game's interface is incredibly simple and offers some choices, but the game's largely a story that's told with some interaction.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance is showcased, with kissing, arms around each other, and hands on hips.
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An occasional "damn" is uttered in dialogue.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the characters gets drunk toward the end of the game and openly consumes alcohol for long periods.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that South of the Circle is a downloadable adventure game available on Windows PCs and Apple Arcade. The game's emphasis is strongly on story and very light on traditional gameplay, which could make the title polarizing among players, although it's incredibly simple to control. The story is very compelling though, and could teach younger players lessons about loyalty, equality, and friendship. Clara and Peter stand out as intellectual equals, and Clara states emphatically that she doesn't want to settle as a 1960s housewife instead of pursuing her interests. Occasionally, "damn" is heard in dialogue, along with some hugging and kissing from the main characters. One character is also shown near the end of the game drinking for long periods of time, eventually getting drunk.
Is It Any Good?
This adventure is anything but a traditional video game, but it's a story that will stay with you long after you finish. More an interactive narrative than a game, your decisions in South of the Circle don't result in onscreen life or death choices. The story progresses no matter which path you choose (or if you decline to make any choice at all in interactions with other characters). But the amazing voice acting and the unique art style, with motion capture performances from trained actors, makes this utterly captivating. You'll want to know how the saga of Peter and Clara ends. And you'll be convinced the game has ended a time or two before it even comes close, due to the hopeless circumstances Peter's forced to face.
The game also explores the political environment of the early 1960s from a British perspective, and it teaches lessons about making assumptions based on stereotypes and rumors. Clara is presented as a smart, capable woman who's open to love, but also doesn't want to settle for being a 1960s housewife. Peter's reaction to that -- and loyalty to Clara -- is up to the player. The game's ending, without spoiling anything, leaves enough open questions that you'll have plenty of room for debate and discussion with others who have played it -- and believe us, you'll want to talk about it with someone. South of the Circle is a tour de force in storytelling that might not conform to standard definitions of gaming, but it's an experience you'd regret missing if you bypassed it.
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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.