Parent gaming considerations for Horizon Zero Dawn

Being a gamer with kids, gaming time is limited. So when I can pop something on when the kids are around I always need to make sure it is something that is appropriate. Sometimes there are games that on the surface are not suitable for kids, but are fine if played in a certain way, like GTA V or Nier: Automata (to a certain extent).

Here I’ll be giving my considerations and concessions for the incredible PS4 action role playing game, Horizon Zero Dawn. While I’ll not be spoiling anything directly, if you read on you will get an idea of certain directions the game takes.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Looks scarier than it is

Concession 1: Don’t fight humans

While Horizon Zero Dawn is in no way a gratuitous or graphic game, this one really goes without saying. The blood spray is minimal and the characters don’t have full on death animations or anything, but still, leave people be.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Stick to fighting things that look like this

Concession 2: Explore, complete and collect

This is the way to play the game in front of the kids. There are a plethora of collectibles to find, weapons challenges to complete, hunters lodge missions to carry out and heaps of missions that only involve taking down the robots. You can pick and choose which missions to complete at any time during play, so maybe save those ones that involve battling robots to those times the kids are about.

It’s also super satisfying to remove the fog of war from the game map and find the Longnecks.

Horizon Zero Dawn
It’s a beautiful world out there

Concession 3: Be aware that some themes are very adult

If you stick to the concession above, you won’t have much explaining to do. Watch some cutscenes and talk to non playable characters on the other hand and things may be confronting for your little one. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, there are themes around racism, you’ll come across some awful characters, very sad moments and more things that are not appropriate for a kid. Developers Guerrilla Games address all these themes brilliantly, but their target audience are adult gamers.

Horizon Zero Dawn
You’ll love these two

The way to play

Horizon Zero Dawn is definitely safe to play in front of the kids if you just stick to concessions 2. In fact, doing this makes Horizon Zero Dawn a fun game to let your kids actually play.

There are heaps of fun and creative ways to take down the robots. One of my favourite things to do was fight a group of different creations at once, slow-motion jumping, having them running into my traps and corrupting some to fight for me. I lost many an hour doing this.

Playing Horizon Zero Dawn in front of the kids is actually a nice way to prolong the length of the game. I ended up spending more than half my time playing it following the concessions above, even when the kids were in bed. I just couldn’t get enough of the wonderful robot dinosaur action.

Plus, there is the amazing Photo Mode that is way more fun to play around with than it has any right to be.

Horizon Zero Dawn
It’s possible… and way more kid friendly than you’d think

Heads up!

CAN I PLAY IN FRONT OF THE KIDS?  is a semi-regular series on VERSUS PLAYER. The hope is to give those parent gamers out there a bit of a heads up on ways to play some of the more mature games in ways that are kids friendly. Either that or I suggest you to steer clear!

If you liked this you might like our previous articles on GTA V and NIER: AUTOMATA.

As always, let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or email me at

Happy gaming (and parenting)!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.