LQ: 9.6


Brain grade: 10
Fun score: 9.1

Game Type: ESRB Rating: N/A Platform/Console: LWK Recommended Age: 5+ Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used:

IF… is no longer available.

This Playbook is for a game that is no longer available.

IF… is a fantasy adventure game that aims to teach children social and emotional learning (SEL) skills, offering advice on managing frustration, understanding one’s own emotions, and respecting the feeling of others. The game is set in the land of Ziggurat, a once happy land has been corrupted by “dark energy,” which has caused conflict amongst its inhabitants. This unrest has created a giant “Rift” of dark energy, causing Vim — the magical local wildlife — to become aggressive. Players must cure these Vim as they explore, using their elemental powers to clean them of dark energy. Cured Vim can join their team, allowing them to help bigger, tougher Vim around Ziggurat.

The game is simple to learn and features no violence or inappropriate content. There is some reading required, but many parts of the game feature an accompanying voice-over to help younger players understand what to do. IF… is recommended for kids ages 5 and up.



Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.

During their adventure, players will encounter many scenarios that deal with the importance of managing frustration and understanding how to control our own emotions. The game frequently discusses how to handle disappointment, and the importance of persisting through failure. The game isn't too tough, but players can lose in battle if they are overpowered by a big, tough Vim.

Exploring and studying Vim allows players to train more powerful creatures, though, giving them incentive to work through frustrations and overcome in-game challenges. Parents receive updates via email from the app, filling them in on what their child is up to in the game, and advising them on how to discuss the real-world applications of the Self-Control themes explored during gameplay.


Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.

Teamwork and collaboration is a big theme in the game, touching on the importance of showing empathy for others, the benefits of cooperation, and how to be in touch with our own feelings and the feelings of those around us. Players also practice a bit of metacognition -- thinking about  one's own thinking -- as they explore tactics to use while scrubbing Vims and growing their team. Understanding what strategies work and which do not is fairly easy to grasp after some practice, giving kids a simple introduction to the concept of analyzing their own behavior and "knowing what works."

Use this PlayTogether guide to learn how you can help your child turn IF... play time into a positive learning and relationship-building experience. To learn more about why playing games with your children is so important, check out our Science of Play page!

Talk Before You Play

Take a minute to talk with your child about how the Self-Control and Self-Awareness thinking skills work, and why they are important for success in school and at home.

Set Gameplay Goals

screen480x480-4IF... is a single player game, but that doesn't mean you can't observe as your child explores the word of Ziggurat. Anticipated in future updates are parent tips that discuss and apply the SEL lessons learned in the game to the real world. We'll lay out some simple gameplay goals to get your started below.

Gameplay Goals:

  • Meet YouDog and build your avatar.

  • Rebuild Rosie's house.

  • Meet FisherDog.

  • Get the Gauntlet and capture your first Vim.

  • Capture one Vim from each of the elements -- fire, wind, earth and water.

Stop and Reflect

After you’ve completed the goals above, take a minute to pause the game and talk with your child about how IF... is exercising your thinking skills.

  • Ask your child to recall times when the game talked about how to manage anger and frustration. Look over some of the recent email updates the game sends you on your child's progress for talking points.

  • Explain something in your life that can often make you aggravated, and methods you use to deal with frustration. What cools you down? Ask your child to tell you about some similar moments of frustration from real life, and discuss the best ways to address them.

  • Have your child explain ways the villagers of Greenberry work together. How do they help one another? Refer to your email updates to find out what social learning topics are being covered.

  • Discuss how building healthy relationships with others can have a positive impact in the real world. How do strong relationships help make cooperation and teamwork easier?

  • Keep it up! Check back on your child's progress to discover more of the talking points and transfer strategies for additional ways to bring the SEL lessons taught in the game into the real world.

Our Make it Real activities are designed to transform your child’s gameplay into real-world improvements in thinking and academic skills. If you’re just getting started with LearningWorks for Kids, we suggest you try them all to find which are the best for you and your child.

Introduce the Thinking Skills

Read over the pages for Self-Control and Self-Awareness. Then take some time to introduce these thinking skills to your child.

Explain That:

  • Self-Control is the thinking skill that helps us control our actions and emotions.
  • Self-Awareness is the thinking skill that helps us to understand our actions, analyze our own thinking and articulate our thoughts and feelings.


Self-Control Activity

Take it easy when you’re angry. Demonstrate how laughter, humor, and making “light” can diffuse a difficult situation. Use humor generously, modeling making “light” of frustrating situations. While you need to be careful not to make fun of your child when he’s angry, humor can work to distract, introduce new ideas into a situation, and encourage an antidote for anger. Model humor as a coping strategy for stress and a way to control or regulate emotional reactivity.

Self-Awareness Activity

Taking turns is not only for children. Teach your child the importance of taking turns during conversations. Many children with communication difficulties tend to engage in one-sided conversations where they either talk without listening or do not know how to respond effectively to another person's communication. Have a one-on-one conversation with your child in which the speaker holds onto something such as a microphone, a telephone receiver, or a cell phone as a prop to determine whose turn it is to talk and whose turn it is to listen.

IF... & Autism Spectrum Disorders

screen480x480-61-325x243IF.. is a game all about social and emotional learning (SEL). It encourages players to think about what their actions communicate, and imagine how what they say affects others. Behind the scenes, the game analyzes your child's choices and actions, which have a direct impact on how characters act and the story plays out.

For children affected by autism, understanding social cues how to behave with others isn't always easy. In IF..., learning the social cues and conversational techniques are small steps towards larger strides in empathy and compassion. But in order for the in-game lessons to have true impact, you're going to have to transfer these lessons to real life. Use some of the exercises below to help reinforce the SEL lessons and bring what your child learned in the game out into the real world.

Additionally the game is very simple to control, meaning it can be used as an easy tool for practicing basic motor skills, something children dealing with the challenges of autism may struggle.

How to use IF... with Children Affected by Autism:

  • Some children affected by autism can have difficulties with fine motor skills, so the game’s touch-based means of exploring the world may be of benefit. Navigating around Ziggurat requires some control, but is very simple and intuitive, offering easy-to-learn gestures and exercises to help strengthen these skills.
  • Join your child during a play session with the game, and pay close attention to the conversations encountered. Make sure to pause for a moment when your child is offered a selection of responses to choose from. Go over each one and discuss how answering in such a manner may make the other characters feel, and why.
  • Helping your child understand the emotional impact that language and actions can have and others helps set the foundation for broader social and emotional learning. Take some of the examples form the game into the real world.

screen480x480-3As a game focused on social and emotional learning, IF... provides numerous opportunities for players to learn about ways to better manage their emotions and practice Self-Control.

It is not uncommon for children with ADHD to exhibit problems dealing with anger. Ari Tuckman, a clinical psychologist and author of More Attention, Less Deficit: Successful Strategies for Adults with ADHD, says this is partly because people with ADHD" tend to feel and express their emotions more strongly."

Throughout the game, IF...'s protagonist, YouDog, will frequently suggest methods for players to control their emotions and self-regulate their behavior, offering tips like breathing techniques to help kids learn to better control their emotions.


IF... is an adventure game all about relationships and interaction. As such, it has an involved story in which players meet and converse with a wide variety of characters. All of these exchanges are relayed to players via text, and the accompanying voice-over narrations makes it easy to read along. Players will often be presented with options on how to respond to characters during conversation, and must read over their options without the help of narration before selecting an appropriate response. This, paired with the narrated text, makes the game a great tool young, developing or struggling readers.

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