This War of Mine

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
This War of Mine Game Poster Image
Violent, bleak survival game has new look at horrors of war.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the hazards of war and the lengths to which people in war-torn lands go to survive in This War of Mine. The game presents the lives of several normal citizens thrown into the chaos of war, trying to survive as best as they can given the circumstances. Players have to balance the emotional and physical needs of their players with the risks of searching for supplies on a daily basis and will have to use the skills of each character to help their entire group survive. They'll also have to make hard choices on which items they'll take or which methods they'll use, which will involve some planning and strategy to make sure that a mistake doesn't doom the group. Although there isn't a manual or tutorial (which adds to the tension of play), a lively community has sprung up with guides, strategies, and videos, suggesting methods that can be used to survive. With its creative approach to war and conflict, This War of Mine gets players to think about the impact of battle on civilians -- something that most games never do.

Positive Messages

Staying positive and caring for others keeps people going despite bleak situations. You can survive against all odds. Work together to help others through extreme circumstances. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Playable characters just want to survive the war and resume their lives. They express regret and depression at committing crimes to survive and elation at helping neighbors or other people.

Ease of Play

Simple controls. No manual forces lots of trial and error, restarts. High difficulty level can cause frustration.

Violence

Players can use fists, knives, and firearms to kill enemies, innocents. Stealth attacks can result in cut throats, gunshots to the back of the head. No blood. Bodies disappear after a while. Limited color palette reduces the impact of violence somewhat. Characters can be seriously injured by a sniper in one location.

Sex
Language

Offensive language used infrequently. The phrase "f—k this war" appears spray-painted on a wall outside your base.

Consumerism

Provides links to War Child charity foundation, where players can donate money to causes to help war refugees and survivors.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters frequently smoke cigarettes. Cigarettes and alcohol can be made from scratch as a disposable product, and users can trade item.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that This War of Mine is a downloadable stealth action game set in a fictional war. Unlike other war games wherein players take on the role of soldiers, players control a group of ordinary citizens attempting to survive through the conflict that's destroying their town. These common people express a whole range of emotions, from joy at helping their fellow survivors to remorse and despair when they commit a crime that's necessary for their survival. The game does have a certain amount of violence, and characters can use their fists, knives, or guns to inflict damage on enemies.  However, there's no blood thanks to the limited color palette for the graphics. Characters frequently smoke cigarettes and can even produce tobacco and alcohol for use or trade. Mild language is used infrequently, but the word "f—k" is spray-painted outside the player's main base. Parents also should know that the game provides a link to charity organizations so players can donate cash to help refugees.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBob X. December 23, 2017
Adult Written byDean S. December 17, 2017

Excellent!

This is a really good game aside from some little things.
Teen, 13 years old Written byAccountName1 March 19, 2018

Read This Families

In my perspective as a teenager I believe this game is appropriate for any ages 13+ and here’s my reason why. Although the game does have alcohol and cigarettes... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byQuinn Nichols December 5, 2017

Fun game

This is a WAR GAME but do NOT say NO.This game is very educational it is about playing as civilians of a war till cease fire.It is like the sims but in a war pe... Continue reading

What's it about?

THIS WAR OF MINE is inspired by the Siege of Sarajevo and takes place in the fictional town of Pogoren, which war has devastated. Players are put in the shoes of a group of ordinary citizens trapped in the town thanks to the rampant violence that's taken place and must rely upon each other for support and survival. Taking shelter in a partially destroyed house, players attempt to outlast the hostility of the war by any means necessary. That means managing goods to stave off sickness or hunger, along with providing for the emotional and psychological needs of your people. Gameplay happens in two phases. First, thanks to the open warfare during the day, it's too dangerous for your characters to roam the streets; confined to the safety of their shelter, they craft tools from materials, fortify their base, and try to handle the health needs of characters. Second, at night, players can scavenge areas across the city for valuable supplies that can be used to survive or traded with other people. Random encounters will let you decide whether you want to help people you come across or rob and kill them for their prized possessions.

Is it any good?

This War of Mine turns the war game concept on its head by putting you in the shoes of people forced to survive on what they can salvage from the ruins of their city. It really captures the relentless emotional toll of these circumstances on war-torn citizens. They're not soldiers or adventurers; they're average people who get depressed when they have to steal and become completely unhinged if they have to kill someone, even in self-defense. Aside from grappling with these moral questions, they face significant survival questions on a daily basis. Do you use the wood in your shelter to fortify your base from raiders or burn it for heat? Should you cook food with your meager supplies, or can you starve for one more day, making the supplies last? These are some of the lighter dilemmas you'll handle. Nighttime is just as dangerous; you'll be sending a character under cover of darkness to search for items while contending with enemy soldiers who will shoot and kill you on sight. Unlike in other games, you can't haul every bit of equipment that you find with you; you'll have to pick and choose with the limited amount of space your character has for possessions.

Knowing that you need every screw, every can of food, and every bullet you can find, and yet you can only take so much back in a night, increases the tension and feeling of helplessness for players with every move. This can even make you question whether you chose the right location to search or you grabbed the right items. Since there isn't a manual or tutorial to give you an idea of what you should do, you'll engage in lots of trial and error to figure out what you're doing -- one wrong move, one bad decision, and your group could pay with their lives, forcing you to restart the game. That can be one of the most frustrating parts of This War of Mine, because your margin for error can be so slight. However, each play-through gives a glimpse of what should and shouldn't be done, giving you an edge on how to best adjust your tactics to help future groups survive. This War of Mine is powerful and emotionally gripping -- one of those gaming experiences that can't be missed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as This War of Mine. Is there less of an impact because players can complete missions without killing others? Is the impact reduced because no blood is shown?

  • Talk about the extremes people suffer in war. Is it ever justified to steal from others to ensure your survival? Is it OK to kill? Would you feel remorse for doing things you wouldn't resort to in peacetime?

Game details

  • Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
  • Subjects: Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, events, exploration, global awareness
    Hobbies: building, collecting
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, deduction, defining problems, investigation, logic, making conclusions, memorization, problem solving, strategy, thinking critically
    Creativity: combining knowledge
    Self-Direction: goal-setting, identifying strengths and weaknesses, set objectives, time management, work to achieve goals, working efficiently
    Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, persevering, perspective taking
    Responsibility & Ethics: integrity, learning from consequences, making wise decisions, respect for others
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: 11-Bit Studios
  • Release date: November 14, 2014
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Topics: Adventures
  • ESRB rating: M

Themes & Topics

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