The Assembly

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
The Assembly Game Poster Image
Good story, use of VR, but mediocre, short adventure.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No positive, negative messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play two scientists -- Madeleine Stone and Cal Pearson -- both of whom are involved in this secret organization called the Assembly. Unknown what their goals, motivations are.

Ease of Play

Simple controls and limited interface; some may find this makes gameplay less interactive.

Violence

No violence exactly, but you do see animals, people subjected to secret medical experiments in labs. Early in game, you see a bird opened up, with blood, innards exposed.

Sex
Language

Mild profanity such as "damn," frequently.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some medical drugs can be seen in labs, beside some people; animals being experimented on.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Assembly is a downloadable first-person adventure game with some mature themes. Players will become part of a secret organization that conducts experiments on animals and people, and there are some potentially disturbing scenes with blood and some gore. Parents should also know the two protagonists you play can make moral decisions that might affect the outcome of the story. "Damn" can be heard frequently, and medical drugs can be seen next to some people and animals being experimented on.

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What's it about?

THE ASSEMBLY is a first-person adventure game that has you uncover a morally questionable secret organization called the Assembly that appears to be conducting experiments with animals and people in an underground lab. Throughout the game, you play as two characters: Madeleine Stone, a newcomer to this shadowy group, and a more seasoned scientist, Cal Pearson. Through exploration, character interaction, evidence gathering, and puzzle solving, you'll start to unlock the mysteries of this secret underground organization of scientists, engineers, and academics.

Is it any good?

This adventure game with its secret organization, mysterious motives, and moral puzzles seems built to succeed, but it's really more of an average tale from start to finish. Most adventure games are designed to be more slowly paced and more narrative-driven, with characters to interact with and puzzles to solve. When you add in the mysterious theme, smooth controls, and decisions that can affect the story, it should seem like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, the game's concept is better than its execution. Between ho-hum gameplay, simplified puzzles, and a world that's eerily lifeless, this four- to five-hour adventure is mediocre at best.

Playing as two characters is a nice twist, as each has a unique role, perspective, and skill set). Madeleine Stone, who experimented on her own mother, solves puzzles and is mostly confined to small rooms. Cal, on the other hand, can roam about more freely, log into computers, open drawers, and explore the facility a little more. But the game feels restrictive, as you don't really go outside (with one exception later in the story), plus you don't really connect with anyone to create a memorable relationship. As a result, the world feels lifeless and empty, and you feel led on a tight leash. Puzzles are very easy, which might be fine for newbie players but not everyone else. It's too bad, because when things start to pick up and get interesting, the tale is over. There's little reason to play again. Without giving too much away, the story is quite good, as are the production values (with decent graphics and impressive audio). Virtual reality fans who like adventure games shouldn't be too upset with The Assembly -- it's also less expensive than most other games -- but will likely agree the gameplay doesn't live up to its promise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mature content. Since The Assembly doesn't feature violence, sexual content, or profanity, do you think it's fine for teens? Should it be relegated to older players because of its handling of mature -- and potentially disturbing -- themes, along with scenes of animal and human experimentation?

  • Talk about screen time. How do you limit screen time with a VR experience that's so immersive that it may seem impossible to know how long you've been playing the game?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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