A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about cultural understanding and will take the perspectives of several people in this thought-provoking role-playing game. With no easy answers to most of the problems posed within the story, players will feel empathy for the cast: a diverse bunch with varying ages, genders, cultures, and races. Unlike most role-playing games, choosing what might appear to be a moral course of action without considering the dangers and consequences could result in your character's death. Players must be prudent, balanced, and conscious of the protagonist's well-being while making decisions, realizing that there may be no conventional "winning" in some situations. Though set in a fantastical version of ancient India, Unrest teaches players some hard lessons about the real world.
The narrative digs into myriad difficult issues, from arranged marriage and poverty to the abuse of religion for personal gain and cultural differences that lead to suffering and violence. The main takeaway is that clear-cut notions of right and wrong are shaky at best in a world filled with people whose interests and survival are in direct opposition to most others.
Positive Role Models
The primary playable characters -- including a young royal forced to live in the slums, a conflicted priest trying to feed his family, and a teen girl forced to marry someone she detests, among others -- face difficult moral questions, the answers to which are often unclear. As these people, players may be forced to steal or worse simply to survive. Knowing where to draw the line can be extremely difficult, much as it would be in similar circumstances in the real world.
Ease of Play
The mechanics are simple: Just point and click to move, talk to characters, and select dialogue options. But navigating conversations to your characters' benefit is far from easy. It's difficult to tell how non-player characters will react to your responses, and simply choosing what might be considered the moral option is no guarantee of a favorable outcome. Expect some of your characters to die.
Violence & Scariness
The player's characters may be killed, permanently, as a result of choices made in conversations. Text describes violence and suffering, including assassinations, death by starvation and disease, and executions, though these aren't shown in much detail. Corpses are seen on the street, and characters can occasionally interact with them by clicking on them to learn more.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No nudity or sex, but text dialogue explores the idea of teens forced into marriage.
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Occasional mild profanity, including the words "ass" and "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Infrequent discussion of drinking and "brew." One woman is shown puffing on a hookah.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Unrest is a downloadable story-driven role-playing game played out mostly through dialogue. Players steer their way through conversations that delve into some extremely thorny issues, including arranged marriage, poverty and starvation, religious faith, and problems arising from cultural differences. The game is set in a mythological version of ancient India, but many problems that arise are familiar to our world and may strike a chord with some players. Violence -- including assassinations and executions -- is described via text but can still be affecting given the emotional attachment players may feel toward certain characters. Foul language is limited to mild, infrequent profanity, including the words "ass" and "bastard."
Is It Any Good?
Unrest isn't your average role-playing game. It's not filled with swashbuckling heroes, enchanting rogues, and a series of black-and-white moral choices. Instead, it dives into some very hard social, diplomatic, and personal questions that force players to put themselves in their characters' shoes and contemplate the outcomes of their decisions, which can result in the deaths of not only non-player characters but also the protagonists. Players may just learn something about themselves in the process.
But the game also is plagued by design and technical problems. Going from one lengthy text conversation to another repeatedly can be mentally draining. It would be nice to have a little more variety in activities. Plus, navigating the world by pointing and clicking is often a chore, since characters frequently get stuck on objects and simply stop moving. There's plenty to admire about this daring, story-driven RPG experience, but it's not quite as accessible or polished as one might have hoped.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.