Parents' Guide to

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

By Chris Morris, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Well-done atmospheric game has some bloody moments.

Game Windows 2014
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

Not for kids

There is no way that this game is meant for kids. It's got a lot of disturbing moments along with some gory images. The amazing graphics only add to how disgusting these moments are. Not for kids.

This title has:

Easy to play/use
Too much violence
age 17+

Its a dark world

I showed my 11 year old son this game when I got it, mainly to show off the quality of the graphics environment, which is beautifully rendered. But after playing it for maybe 10 minutes he wanted to quit as its a quietly scary game. This is a kind of slowly unfolding crime thriller with touches of horror narrative ... its unlike most other games. I'm in my 40s, and if I've been playing it late in the evening it can play on my mind a bit. A sensitive person of any age will find it creepy and malevolent. One for the grown-ups. Some might find it boring as there's little action... its all about the suspense and the atmosphere and the detective puzzles.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

Although it might technically be classified as a puzzle game, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is primarily focused on atmosphere. The game exudes it, and that quickly draws players in. It's not an especially long game -- the puzzles aren't overly hard -- but that's not a problem, since you'll spend nearly as much time exploring and gasping at the sheer beauty of the graphics and shivering at the real sense of dread the developers are able to communicate through shadows and music.

Ethan Carter pulls from a variety of influences, ranging from Lovecraft to Phillip Marlowe. And it's hard to go too deep into its best parts without ruining them for new players. Early on, though, the game declares it won't "hold your hand." That translates into complete freedom, which is a rare quality in games today. The only problem is that, without any real background or knowledge of what your quests are, it's possible to spend a long time wandering without really knowing what you're supposed to do next. And that could frustrate some players.

Game Details

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