Parents' Guide to

The Caligula Effect: Overdose

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Repetitive, bland look at complex emotional issues.

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Escapism can be both a blessing and a curse, but this game attempts to bury its problems deep and pretend they don't exist without dealing with serious topics in the best way. The Caligula Effect: Overdose has something oddly inspiring about learning to harness emotional pain to turn it from a weakness into a strength, but it's also strange that the game's story sometimes treats such heavy topics as death, abuse, bullying, and more with an almost cavalier attitude. In the story, the characters exist in this virtual world to escape the personal and emotional traumas they've suffered, but even after learning their secrets and facing what brought them to Mobius, these issues feel like they're just swept under the rug.

Even putting aside the psychological aspects of The Caligula Effect: Overdose, there are some difficult issues for the game to overcome. For starters, the game's repetition is almost mind-numbing. The entire adventure is set in an incomplete virtual city, with most events happening on the high school grounds. Most interactions are with students that, outside of the main cast, look and act like filler. You're meant to build bonds with these characters, but they've got no real personality to bond with. In fact, the texting feature is just a series of pre-programmed and random questions, which never come together like any actual conversation. The game's combat system does feel like something genuinely unique, with players choosing their party's actions, adjusting the timing, and even seeing the potential outcome before locking everything in. It's an interesting system with a lot of potential that it never quite lives up to, leading to fights that wind up feeling overly long and drawn out. It adds to the game's overall feeling of repetition and monotony, making The Caligula Effect: Overdose an experience that will make you want to escape back to the real world as much as the rest of the Go-Home Club.

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