A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about puzzle solving, making deductions, and how to analyze information in this tricky puzzle game set inside an organism. Each level can be solved through diligent trial and error, but the most successful players will exercise their logic and reasoning abilities as they observe how cells react to their actions and apply the information they've learned. Splice has a theme rooted in biology, but its puzzles don't actually teach players anything about the nature or abilities of living cells other than that they can reproduce and transform.
This game rewards players for using their minds and suggests that thoughtful, logical deduction is a necessary tool for deciphering the answers to difficult problems.
Ease of Play
This is a highly challenging puzzle game that offers no tutorials and virtually no guidance. The player's only help comes from an in-game manual consisting of three screens that do little more than provide an explanation of the most basic elements of play.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Splice is a puzzle game with a vaguely science-y theme and no controversial content. However, this doesn't mean that it's appropriate for all ages. The puzzles -- which involve reorganizing cells into specific patterns -- can be extremely challenging, and no tutorial is offered. There is a good chance it will leave younger players -- and perhaps many older ones, too -- fairly frustrated.
Is It Any Good?
Despite its simple point-and-click interface, Splice is one of the more challenging puzzle games you're likely to encounter. The rules that the cells follow can be very difficult to discern (a series of tutorials would have gone a long way toward eliminating this problem), and once you have them figured out, they can be hard to apply in your imagination as you try to predict what will happen more than one or two moves in advance. There's a good chance you'll end up solving many of the puzzles by pure luck after a lot of random clicks rather than through skill. That said, those who cue to the game's thorny logic could find some deep satisfaction in these visual conundrums.
Regardless, it's impossible not to appreciate the game's beautiful design. Everything -- even the game menus -- exists in a single microscopic world, with previous puzzles floating in a murky, blurred background. It's a quirky and ingenious bit of presentation that's sure to prove memorable, even if the puzzles aren't.
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.