A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Talos Principle is a downloadable puzzle adventure game. Players will spend their time reading emails and piecing together what became of a ruined utopia while navigating its many, many Portal-style puzzles. This is a game where progress is only made when it’s earned, with lots of gated sections that can only be unlocked by procuring sacred Tetrominoes that must be carefully arranged on small grids. There are no enemies to blast -- just lots of things to think through and tinker with. Even when hazards arise and you're shot at or fall victim to a trap in a puzzle, there's no violence; the game simply rewinds to an earlier section so you can start again.
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What's it about?
In THE TALOS PRINCIPLE, a booming, unseen deity compels you to triumph over the puzzles and plots of his garden simulation populated with greenery and the ruins of futuristic technology. It’s an intentionally odd mix meant to provoke players into being intrigued as well as to plunge deeper into the surrounding puzzles at every opportunity. These occasions arise with computer terminals that unexpectedly dot the landscape, which allow you to read more about what this place is and who used to be there. Players also gain deeper insights into the humanity of robots -- or the robotic nature of humans.
Is it any good?
Unless they’re extremely curious and love taking apart things to see how they work, younger kids will probably be bored by The Talos Principle. Those with much more patience will find it to be the perfect mix of challenging and rewarding -- although it won't have a lot of variety until late in the game. You'll spend your first few hours learning the basics of play: using jammers and other doohickeys to disable doors or turrets in convoluted ways. It’s later on that things get really interesting -- and potentially frustrating -- when you’ll have to deploy fans to send you flying, boxes to stand on when you need more height, and recording devices that "replay" what you've done in one area so you can simultaneously do more elsewhere. It gets complicated.
It’s also a steep, slow climb to those complications. Fortunately, the world itself is so fascinating and odd that it makes hanging in there worthwhile. It blends elements of sci-fi, religion, and philosophy very well; you can't help but be sucked in from the start when you're traversing columns and observing your robotic wrists, and an unseeing being referring to himself only as Elohim compels you to press on. It all makes for a great mystery that continues to grow as you try to investigate and understand it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about using technology responsibly. At what point does using computers or playing video games on an ongoing basis get in the way of us living responsible, balanced lives?
Discuss resourcefulness and patience. What do you do in your offline life when you think you’ve tried every possible solution for a problem and can’t think of what else to do?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: forming arguments, reading, reading comprehension
Social Studies: history
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, deduction, investigation, making conclusions, prediction, problem solving, solving puzzles, strategy
Creativity: combining knowledge
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Devolver Digital
- Release date: December 11, 2014
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Robots, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: NR
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.