By Angelica Guarino,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Gripping exploration pilots mech-focused adventure.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Though Annika starts off not understanding the importance of her father’s favorite rig, she learns to deeply value everything her father has taught her and grows into a more responsible and self-aware person. Annika's rewarded for frequently helping others and going out of her way to serve her community, and isn't afraid to confront problems with direct words and actions.
Positive Role Models
Annika matures throughout the story, but she still begins as an intelligent and resourceful young woman. She's eager to help her father, often taking initiative to do things without being asked to as well as helping characters she meets out in the forest who are in trouble without hesitation. She's curious and wants to find her own answers to questions.
Ease of Play
Though gameplay's intuitive and glitches are minimal, Stonefly does require skill due to the fast-paced combat and potentially overwhelming number of simultaneous enemies. Thankfully, there are various difficulty levels if players are looking to up the difficulty or make it more forgiving.
Violence & Scariness
Combat's frequent, but violence is kept to a minimum. Annika stuns enemy bugs with her rig and uses gusts of air to push them away from the minerals she needs to collect.
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At points, a series of special characters appear onscreen that are supposed to be representative of profanity. The words themselves don't appear.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Stonefly is a downloadable action/adventure role-playing game for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5. This coming-of-age tale of a young inventor named Annika Stonefly doubles as an action-packed series of mining, crafting, and combat tasks. Cutscenes which further the story are laced together with levels of exploration through lush environments of collectible resources and enemies. Though there's combat, violence is kept to a minimum. Annika uses her flying bug-like ships (called "rigs" in-game) to stun enemy bugs before using gusts of air to push them away from the valuable minerals she needs to collect in order to upgrade her machines. In addition, gameplay is intutitive and glitches are minimal, but Stonefly's totally unique combat mechanics do involve skill due to the number of enemies the player must face simultaneously, especially after the first boss fight.
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What’s It About?
In STONEFLY, a young girl named Annika Stonefly lives with her father in a fantastic treehouse, where he runs a mechanical repair shop for bug-like flying machines called "rigs." After years of listening to her father "yammer on about engines,” Annika has learned quite a bit about engineering and mechanics. One night, Annika takes out an old, sentimental rig (named Chrysa after Annika's mother) into the forest for a quest to find a special mineral called limodot that her father needs for a repair. While she's successful in learning the basics of flying the rig and collecting the material she needs, Annika forgets to lock the rig inside her father's shed when she arrives back at home. By morning, the rig is stolen. Annika's father is distraught as a result, and Annika decides that it's her responsibility to leave home and track down the thief.
Is It Any Good?
It's difficult to think of titles that this adventure compares to, and that uniqueness is reason for celebration. The overall experience of flying one of Annika's rigs in Stonefly through a mix of fantasy environments is unlike any other, and that excitement persists throughout many hours of gameplay. Researching upgrades for the rigs and finding materials to craft them is self-explanatory, leaving players the freedom to focus on losing themselves in the story and discovering new methods for fighting swarms of enemies. While there are small gripes, like the lack of camera control and the frustrating need to re-complete missions to get enough materials for an upgrade, these don't ruin the experience too great. These gripes are outweighed by small, yet pleasing features such as adjustable difficulty levels (which control how many enemies players fight at once) as well as the ability to customize the colors of each rig's mechanical outer shell.
Flying and upgrading rigs is a major highlight of gameplay, but another rewarding feature is the elegantly crafted story and cast of characters. After leaving home, Annika meets a group of pilots working together in a corps -- Blair, Daven, and Clara. The group has an interesting dynamic, and all three have varying emotions towards letting Annika accompany them on missions, though she consistently proves herself a worthy pilot. Learning the backstories of these three characters and more details about Annika's family over time is well-paced, and Annika's dilemma of understanding that she can choose how she wants to spend her life is realistic and relatable. Her character traits lend themselves perfectly to her feeling torn over whether to return home, and players will likely grow to care about Annika as a protagonist. Overall, this mix of fast-paced combat and skillful storytelling makes Stonefly a highly enjoyable experience, even for players who may not have a fondness for nature-themed or resource-collecting games.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Annika's relationship with her father. In Stonefly, Annika begins to question whether living with her father and working in his shop is how she wants to spend her life, but which experiences lead her to think about this? Regardless of what she decides to do, why is the opportunity to consider all of her options so important?
In Stonefly, Annika's honest mistake of not locking the shed leads to a large consequence, so what should people do to take responsibility for their mistakes, even if the mistakes are small?
Why do you think the rig Chrysa means so much to Annika’s father? Does your family have any heirlooms? What gives them their special meaning?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Flight School Studio
- Release date: June 1, 2021
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: STEM, Adventures, Bugs, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for Mild fantasy violence, mild language
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: June 25, 2021
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