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Parents' Guide to


By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Short puzzler has strong heroine, unanswered questions.

Game Apple Arcade 2019
Stela Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

While this feels like the sort of game that ought to have important things on its mind to convey to players, it really doesn't. Stela succeeds in creating beauty in its ruined environments thanks to a minimal yet atmospheric graphical style that includes the hero herself, whose bright hues stand in contrast to the world and make her a symbol of hope in a land weirdly empty of humanity. The moody music matches the visual tone, creating a fitting soundscape that conveys unease without being abrasive or noisy. In this respect, Stela shares company with beautiful and beloved indie masterpieces such as Limbo and Inside.

But unlike many of the games from which it clearly took inspiration, the experience never quite manages to coalesce into something with a message. As you work your way past enemies and through hazards, solving a variety of contextual puzzles along the way, nothing's ever explained. Who is Stela? What has happened to the world? Does she know where she's going? What's driving her forward? Even after the credits roll, you'll be left to speculate on answers to all of these questions. Ambiguity is perfectly acceptable in storytelling, so long as you begin with a few basic, well-established facts and premises. Alas, these don't exist in Stela. It will likely leave players feeling either frustrated for lack of resolution or dumb for not understanding what they just saw. It goes easy on both the eyes and ears, but it leaves the mind unsatisfied.

Game Details

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