LQ: 9.3


Brain grade: 9.2
Fun score: 9.4

Game Type: , ESRB Rating: Teen Platform/Console: , , , , , LWK Recommended Age: 13+ Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used:

Nintendo Switch Steam PS4 PS5 Xbox Series X/S Xbox One 

Ikai is a first person psychological horror game where the player takes on the role of a shrine maiden in feudal Japan who is attempting to banish the evil spirits that have taken over her shrine and the surrounding area. The game’s enemies are Japanese yokai, characters from folklore who are numerous and have their own unique appearances and abilities. The player can find pieces of paper scattered around with illustrations and information about these yokai in order to provide context for the demons they encounter.

The player does not have any weapons to fight, but must make use of a calligraphy brush and paper to write special symbols to seal off and banish the evil spirits. The player must sit down at a table and physically write out these symbols using the controller or mouse to trace the pattern of symbols on paper. The player must also use stealth to sneak around and find places to hide to avoid being caught by the different demons. There are also occasional puzzles that need to be solved before the game can progress. 

Ikai is rated T for Teen for blood and alcohol use.

Ikai  helps kids practice and improve the following skills:

Focus: Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.

There are many ways that focus is used in Ikai. In order to learn about the different types of yokai that are haunting the shrine, the player needs to use their focusing skills to find and read all the lore pages that are scattered throughout the game. While they are not long, reading the pages requires short but sustained focus to complete. 

Focus is also used when solving the various puzzles in the game. There are many different noises that can sound spooky or creepy in the game and the player needs to block out distractions and pay attention to patterns or to what the end goal of each puzzle is. 

And finally, focus is needed when writing out the symbols that are used to seal and banish the yokai. Because the player actually needs to draw the symbols using their mouse or controller, focus is needed to draw the symbol as it is outlined on each piece of paper. 

Flexibility: Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations. 

There are times in the game where the player needs to decide between taking the time to write a symbol or hiding to avoid being caught by the yokai. Sometimes the player needs to switch back and forth between these two options quickly. So using flexibility skills allows the player to pay attention to their surroundings and access the noises and other cues they are being given in the game to determine what move to make.

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