Parents' Guide to

Walden, A Game

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Beautiful open-world survival game promotes self-reflection.

Game Mac , PlayStation 4 , Windows 2017
Walden, A Game Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Privacy Rating Fail

This product does not have a sufficient privacy policy.

  • Unclear whether personal information is sold or rented to third parties.
  • Unclear whether personal information are shared for third-party marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays personalised advertising.
  • Unclear whether data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • Unclear whether this product uses a user's information to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Unclear whether this product creates and uses data profiles for personalised advertisements.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

If this nature simulation had to be summed up in a single word, it would be "beautiful." Many video games are obsessed with recreating the look and feel of our real world, and impressively (in part due to the modest size of the team behind it) for the most part, this title does that. This is no small feat, as the game has to be completely idyllic for it to achieve the effect it's going for. Since you play as naturalist-philosopher and author Henry David Thoreau in his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond, a core part of the game is both making sure you tend to your survival and also making sure you are feeling inspired. Although we know by now in open-world and especially survival games that we must eat and find shelter in video games, those are digital inventions. Your character in this game will eat what you've foraged automatically; instead, you need to seek out inspiration in the game, which will almost always coincide with what you as a player find riveting, refreshing, or fascinating about the world. Literally, "inspiration" is one of the stats you must monitor, which can be remedied by wandering nature, happening upon animals, or lurking at the edge of areas to see what you can see and hear.

This is counter-balanced by the more pragmatic necessities and realities of survival. You need to mend your clothes, bolster your shelter, and find odd jobs (like catching fish, chopping wood, etc.) so you can buy more supplies or, if you choose, pay your taxes. By no means is this game intended to dazzle with action -- it's more about the Zen of minimalism, the Zen of realizing and remembering you are part of bigger systems both natural and manmade, and the impacts that your hasty and thought out decisions have. Think back to the fable about the ant and the grasshopper: Will you spend the summer preparing for the winter? Or will you go off doing as you please? Either way, you'll need to leave with your choices. As such, this makes Walden a great before-bed activity. You would be hard-pressed to name another game that's more peaceful, calm, or will make you think about how you should spend more time outdoors.

Game Details

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.

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.

See how we rate