Starseed Pilgrim

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Starseed Pilgrim Game Poster Image
Coy puzzler will wrinkle your brain and curiosity.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Patience rewarded with epiphanies, understanding of logic that previously wasn't apparent. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters don't talk, so no way to tell if positive or negative.

Ease of Play

Very easy to play. Understanding what you're supposed to do is another matter. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Starseed Pilgrim is a casual and relaxed but intensely cerebral downloadable puzzle game. You're set loose on a landscape that is a single giant block with the ability to plant seeds that make other erratic shapes grow, along with a black hole slowly eating the world around you. It's strange and confusing, and it's supposed to be. But this is a quiet, introspective game about experimenting and exploration, things that any growing child with a curious mind and patient intellect will ultimately find rewarding -- though, yes, it's also confusing for a good period of time. 

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What's it about?

STARSEED PILGRIM is an unconventional game that focuses on having a green thumb in space. You play an intergalactic gardener who travels from one world to the other, and when you run out of seeds to plant in the former, you reemerge in the latter. Some interesting things can happen if you plant your seeds in the proper order and exploit the strange shapes that grow out of them; for example, they can be used as platforms to hop to other blacked-out squares floating in the ether. This can transport you to a world that, actually, is the inverse of the one you were just in, enabling you to scoop up seeds to plant in the original location. Yes, it all sounds confusing; it's meant to be, although, in reality, it's quite simple. Expect to play Starseed Pilgrim for a good hour or two before you start to get it. Know you will play it for evenings before you even start to understand it. 

Is it any good?

It's tough to say whether Starseed Pilgrim is "good" because it's an extremely unconventional, slightly strange game. It's more of a brainteasing toy than a traditional video game. There are no enemies to fight nor goals to accomplish, only space to exist in, explore, and try to glean meaning from. Assessing whether that's any good is very subjective and will depend greatly on your tolerance for being confused and lost. Though it wasn't made with children in mind, it's absolutely perfect for growing, curious minds. 

Starseed Pilgrim is difficult to articulate in mere paragraphs, as it has to be experienced to be understood. It's like learning to ride a bike or tie your shoes -- you just have to try it to understand. Know that it will seem to be pulling you in one direction, or no direction at all, and then suddenly you will stumble and realize you were doing what you were supposed to be doing all along. Does the game end? Supposedly. But it's far more worthwhile running, falling, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again. That's what the best video games are about, and Starseed Pilgrim certainly has that with stunning flourish.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why patience is a virtue. Why do so many people value it as a personality trait? 

  • When you're confused by your surroundings, what are you naturally inclined to do to figure them out? What does that say about you? Would you like to change something about your reaction? Why, or why not? 

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzles

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