Help! Is Mystic Messenger safe for 14 year old?

Oh no, I am not ready for this. My daughter just asked if she can play this game on iOS. My concern is that this could have questionable adult content. The iOS store lists it as 17+ and "Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes".

In my initial search, there was not much listed, but nothing that seemed to be mentioned for sexual content or nudity. Had a flash back to my younger self when I obtained some questionable (tentacle?) anime and that still haunts me.

Will try to dig deeper later tonight after work.

Help.

Unprepared father of a 14....crap, she is 15.

Thank you.

I know nothing about the game, or your daughter, but my guess is that it doesn't come close to the filthiness of your average 15-year old conversing with friends.

But that said, it looks like there's some footage of the game on Youtube that you could check out, and the Wikipedia page for it has some details on what's involved in the game, so you can get a taste of it.

But seriously, it's free! Download it yourself and see what it's about!

You could say "Look, it's 17+, let me check it out and we'll see, but not right away." Give yourself time to find reviews, or even try it out first. And you'll have that precedent on your side, rather than her saying "But you let me play MM!".

If you aren't aware of it, there's a review site that targets parents: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Unfortunately, they don't cover Mystic Messenger, which seems like a pretty small niche game; you'll probably need to do a bit of a deep dive to determine if you're comfortable. This review suggests to me that this is less about overt sexuality (i.e. pr0n) and more about the game dealing with gender and sexuality in mature ways, and the game might accompany some uncomfortable (but probably necessary?) conversations with you as a parent: https://medium.com/mammon-machine-ze...

I would add that a niche game like this probably isn't something she just picked out at random?... so (1) you might wonder where she's getting her recommendations from, and (2) realize she's probably getting some "questionable" recommendations as well that she may or may not sharing with you. So, ready or not, subjects like "how women are treated in hentai" might be ones you want to broach, at least indirectly.

CAVEAT: not a parent

Regardless of content, tell her to forget F2P mobile trash and play REAL GAMEZ LIKE A REAL GAMER RRRRRGGGHHH.

Kidding, kidding. Without having played the game myself, just looking at the store pages, it seems to merely be a Korean freemium imitation of the Japanese otome visual novel style. Some of those with higher age ratings have been known to have explicit content but in this case I wouldn't expect anything more than cheesy romance tropes.

ios has this at 17+, but Play Store has it as Teen.

I'd say that if you're okay with your 15 yr old watching anime then there won't be anything in this particular visual novel to be an issue.

Mystic Messenger is a well know otome game, to the point I have it on my wishlist (yes, I know it's free, I simply haven't gotten around to it). I don't believe there's anything untoward here, but it may give your teenager a skewed view of relationships. Still, the game is supposedly expertly written with good characters. In that way it's like allowing your teen to read romance novels aimed at teens. If you're okay with that, then this should be fine.

I found this Reddit thread, also discussing the appropriateness for a 14-year-old (previous to the ratings change, but it looks like it still holds in general). Someone who has played it can probably provide more insight, but it looks like the biggest content warnings are because some of the routes touch on characters' backstories that include suicide and similar heavy topics.

garion333 wrote:

Mystic Messenger is a well know otome game, to the point I have it on my wishlist (yes, I know it's free, I simply haven't gotten around to it). I don't believe there's anything untoward here, but it may give your teenager a skewed view of relationships. Still, the game is supposedly expertly written with good characters. In that way it's like allowing your teen to read romance novels aimed at teens. If you're okay with that, then this should be fine.

I think this is a good comparison. All games broadly falling within the dating sim category, whether explicit or not, whether they feature a harem of moe girls or a harem of bishounen boys, are basically just wish fulfillment fantasies that give a pretty unrealistic view of relationships... but that makes them no different from a lot of other media aimed at young people. This type of escapism is not bad in and of itself but it can become unhealthy in overly large does or if there's nothing to prevent an impressionable mind from forming expectations about the real world based on the fiction depicted.

I've done maybe 3 or 4 playthroughs of mystic messenger. I would rate it pg-13 and probs okay for 14. Lots of breathless paramour attention and I think maybe a passionate kiss or embrace if you're lucky! I think maybe in some circumstances you may spend the night in someone's home, but it fades to black and it's under the justification that your apartment is compromised and you are in danger. There's also mental heath, anarchy, and crime discussed as well, so maybe that is why.

You can only play as a female character, so there's some damseling of the protag going on. However, it's mostly in service to being rescued in some way by your paramour of choice if I recall correctly.

Unless there's some wildly difficult or rare unlock I'm unaware of the rating seems steep.

Endgame spoilers:

Spoiler:

Be aware that there is a same sex romance option (where as your win condition you and a female character quietly move in together into a quaint little cottage where you run a local tea or coffee shop for the rest of your days). Despite how wholesome this is, because the game has a same-sex option I wouldn't be surprised if that's what got it its 17+ rating. Just having any LGBT content in a game can get it hit with an adult rating sometimes.

The game's entry in the visual novel database has a "no sex scenes" tag, if that helps. Also, the expanded tags look like they mention some of the heavier/more violent themes touched on if you want specifics. (Well, for a very loose definition of "specific".)

Thank you, Thank you all. There are some great links.

Well, it is now on my phone and I started playing, although I will end up missing a ton of game calls with work.
I did not see too much that turned me sour on it so far. There was mention on a few sites that there maybe 3am texts/calls from certain characters or whatnot that was bothersome, but she is in summer....

I need to get past my initial (internal) reaction of outrage and adding more bricks to the wall that keeps her inside the house. She is a good kid and has good sense. In short, I panicked and came here being short on time. Was up late researching and now reading all the good advice here at lunch and feeling comfortable about her playing this.

Kicking 50 in the face and still do not feel anything like a parent.

Thank you again.

Amoebic wrote:

Endgame spoilers:

Spoiler:

Be aware that there is a same sex romance option (where as your win condition you and a female character quietly move in together into a quaint little cottage where you run a local tea or coffee shop for the rest of your days). Despite how wholesome this is, because the game has a same-sex option I wouldn't be surprised if that's what got it its 17+ rating. Just having any LGBT content in a game can get it hit with an adult rating sometimes.

ALL games should end like this , to be fair