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Hello, dear parents! As someone who’s spent years writing about technology and gaming for families like yours, I’m excited to introduce you to a world your kids might already be exploring – Minecraft. This isn’t just any game; it’s a doorway to a universe of creativity and adventure that has captivated children (and adults!) worldwide. Let’s embark on this journey together to understand what makes Minecraft so special.

What is Minecraft?

First released in 2010, Minecraft has grown into more than a game – it’s a cultural phenomenon. Accessible on various platforms, including consoles, PCs, and mobile devices, it has become a staple in children’s digital lives. But what exactly is it?

Minecraft is a wonderfully imaginative sandbox game that captivates players of all ages. In this blocky, vibrant 3D world, you’re free to explore endless terrains, from lush forests to deep caverns. The game is like a digital Lego set; you can build anything from cozy cottages to grand castles using gathered resources. It’s not just about building though – you’ll craft tools, fend off creatures, and maybe even team up with friends for adventures! Whether you’re a creative builder, an explorer, or a brave warrior, Minecraft offers a unique, fun experience where your imagination is the only limit.

Why Minecraft Captivates Kids

Picture a game where the joy of building with LEGO meets the thrill of an adventure story. That’s Minecraft in a nutshell. In its ‘Creative Mode,’ children are given unlimited virtual blocks to construct anything they can dream up. From simple houses to elaborate castles in the sky, the only limit is their imagination. And trust me, some of the creations out there are truly awe-inspiring. (Or very, very silly. )

Switching to ‘Survival Mode,’ Minecraft offers a different kind of challenge. Here, players gather resources, build shelters, and ensure they have enough food to survive. This mode is not just fun; it’s a brain teaser, encouraging problem-solving and strategic thinking. And don’t worry, the internet is full of guides and tips to help beginners find their way.

Safe and Social

One of the best features of Minecraft is its adaptability in play styles. Your child can choose to play alone or join friends in multiplayer mode. The game’s parental control settings allow for a controlled, safe environment, ensuring they only play with people they know.

Understanding the Costs

Minecraft does require a one-time purchase, with prices varying slightly based on the platform. The game is available on PCs, consoles, and mobile devices, each offering a unique version tailored to the platform. The Java Edition is PC-specific, while the Bedrock Edition is compatible across various platforms (we have an article explaining the differences between Java and Bedrock here). There are no hidden monthly fees, but optional in-game purchases exist for cosmetic items. These purchases aren’t necessary but can add a fun, personalized element to the game. It’s wise to discuss in-game spending with your child to manage expectations and avoid surprises.

Educational Benefits

minecraft education edition
minecraft education edition

Beyond entertainment, Minecraft has significant educational value. It’s widely used in schools to teach subjects like mathematics, history, and science. The game even has an Education Edition, specifically designed for classroom use, highlighting its role as a valuable learning tool.

Minecraft’s Global Influence

Minecraft’s impact goes beyond individual players; it’s a global phenomenon. Its universal appeal transcends age and geography, making it a beloved game across the world.

Seeing is Believing

To truly understand Minecraft, I recommend watching a gameplay video or two on YouTube. This will give you a feel for the game’s environment and mechanics. Remember, the focus is on the game itself, not the person streaming it (The internet is a wild, wild place after all.)

In Summary

Minecraft is a digital playground that offers a blend of creativity, learning, and safe online interaction. It’s a game where your child can express themselves, solve problems, and engage with a global community. As a parent, you can feel reassured about your child’s involvement in this virtual world. If you have any questions or concerns, I’m here to help.

Minecraft is more than a game; it’s a portal to a world of imagination, education, and safe digital exploration for your child.

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Horizon: Forbidden West is an Open World Action Adventure Game in a world set after the destruction, and rebirth, of humanity and society. You play as the protagonist Aloy with deep connections to both the present and distant (but to us futuristic) past. In her quest to understand and overcome a coming calamity. Aloy explores, hunts, and gathers resources in the ruins of what was the west coast of the United States, but is now an overgrown land populated by animal-shaped machines. Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to the hit game Horizon Zero Dawn.

Is Horizon: Forbidden West appropriate for children?

This game is rated T by the ESRB and features mostly bloodless violence against animals, people, and giant robots. The main story features many sensitive topics including death, destruction of the environment, and depictions of revenge, anxiety and depression. There is also some profanity sprinkled throughout the game. Gameplay features open world, 3D combat with time-sensitive reactions, and thoughtful planning. This game is recommended to be played by young adult gamers and older, and only acceptable for viewing by younger gamers under heavily modified conditions.

What is the age range for Horizon: Forbidden West?

This game’s content features realistic violence against other people without gore or blood. There is also profanity, and story content that features death, depression, anxiety, and complex societal issues. Additionally, there is the complexity of game controls to navigate and fight in an open-world 3D combat space. We would recommend this game for gamers 13 and older with parental guidance for sensitive content between 13 and 15.

How Hard is Horizon: Forbidden West to play?

This game features adjustable difficulty for combat and navigation, as well as visual, audio, and control accommodations for the vision, hearing, and motor impaired. The main story features some basic problem-solving and puzzles that cannot be adjusted for difficulty. There are more complex navigational and combat puzzles kept off the beaten path. They are placed in side missions and additional content.

This game also features multiple branching trees of upgrades to quickly adjust some of the game’s difficulty to your personal playstyle. Stealth, Traps, and Close combat are some of the upgrade paths that are available to upgrade and customize gameplay.

Where can I play Horizon: Forbidden West?

Horizon: Forbidden West is available to play on both PS4 and PS5. PS4 purchases feature a free upgrade to PS5. Its DLC, Forbidden Shores, is only available on the PS5. The game requires no constant internet connection and only needs the internet to download content updates.

How Much Does Horizon: Forbidden West Cost?

Horizon: Forbidden West costs as much as full modern release of 2022-23 at $69.99 with its DLC costing an additional $19.99. This game series is a flagship game for Sony Entertainment and the series is always added to the Playstation Plus Program. As of 2023 both Horizon titles: Zero Dawn and Forbidden West are available for free as part of the base PS Plus program. Check the most current price on Amazon here.

How popular is Horizon: Forbidden West?

Horizon: Forbidden West has received positive game reviews and nominations for awards by the gaming community and press. It has sold at least 8.4 Million copies since its DLC was released in April of 2023. The game is popular, but its release suffered from being within the same timing as Elden Ring. Its critical acclaim and overall reception were immediately overshadowed by a significantly different, but much more anticipated game. The Horizon series so far has had it one challenge of always being released several weeks before a much more anticipated game’s release.

What is Horizon: Forbidden West About?

Horizon: Forbidden West is a game where the protagonist Aloy explores and ultimately masters the ruins of a destroyed and reformed Earth. Aloy is an outcast and outsider to present-day’s society. She holds a deep connection to the world before its complete and total destruction. She encounters people from various tribes and kingdoms whose ancient folklore and myth are founded on what to us is a distant, futuristic Earth. This futuristic Earth that serves as Aloy’s distant past is complete. They have artificial intelligence, portable and powerful computers, and robots both great and small. It is Aloy’s connection and affinity to ancient, yet to us futuristic, technology that gives her an edge in combat and diplomacy with other people.

What can my child learn from Horizon: Forbidden West?

This game’s blend of stealth, exploration, and open-world combat encourages problem-solving and planning, both short-term and long-term. Powerful robot creatures and colossal mountains create moments of improvisation when your exploration is suddenly interrupted by a challenging obstacle. Aloy is also a strong female role model who shows many sides to her character.

How do you play Horizon: Forbidden West?

Horizon: Forbidden West is an open-world and 3D action-adventure game that features heavy elements of exploration and stealth. Colossal machines and hordes of human enemies can both overwhelm the singular Aloy in an instant. Gameplay allows for the player to identify locations for Aloy to hide. It also allows the player to identify and track their opponents from a distance. Combat is split between human and robotic foes. Ranged and melee combat are available to provide options to overcome their opponents. Typical gameplay includes a mix of combat, exploration, stealth, and resource gathering.

Can I play Horizon: Forbidden West with my child?

This game is a single-player experience with exploration and simulated violence against animals, people, and giant robots, as well as a main story that features some grown-up content. The game does not offer the option to cooperative play. Due to its T rating, play sessions completed by a child should be heavily modified to exclude violence against people but can include exploration, resource gathering, and stealth gameplay and combat against giant robots.

How long does it take to play Horizon: Forbidden West?

As with most open-world games, length of play can be split up between the main story of the game and its side content. The main story of Horizon: Forbidden West can be completed in about 30 hours of gameplay. This pales in comparison to its available side missions, exploration, and minigames, which adds an additional 40 hours of content to 100% complete the game. The DLC, Burning Shores, adds another 5 hours of gameplay to the main story and another 5 hours of additional side content.
This game frequently autosaves and features numerous save points and fast travel locations in the form of campfires. This network of campfires allows for fast travel between exploration, resource gathering, and story content. With all of these features gameplay sessions can be very short, but with so much content adjacent to each other, players will be tempted to get “one more thing” done and end up playing longer sessions.

Are there any other games that are similar to Horizon: Forbidden West?

With a similar blend of Open world exploration, side missions and mini-games:

  • Insomniac Studio’s Spider-Man Series offers a very similar gameplay experience, swapping the slower, grounded traversal and stealth of Aloy with the fast-paced combat and web-slinging of Spider-Man.
  • Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom share Horizon’s boundless exploration, trading Horizon’s post-futuristic environment and monsters with the high fantasy world of Hyrule.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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