Guardians: Paradise Island app icon

Guardians: Paradise Island

Rewarding mental health game might kickstart positive habits

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 9 reviews

Privacy rating

Not yet rated
Expert evaluation by Common Sense



Subjects & Topics

Health & Wellness

Price: Free
Platforms: Android, iPod Touch, iPhone

Pros: Research-based approach. Encourages practical, simple real-world activities.

Cons: No web version. Text heavy. Won't be as relevant to those serious issues. No classroom connections.

Bottom Line: This trustworthy app could be a playful supplement to a mental health curriculum, but might be challenging to implement in classrooms.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

Guardians: Paradise Island is an iOS and Android app for mental health and well-being. The app, developed at MIT, is rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, most notably Behavioral Activation. It uses gamification to encourage players to get out in the world and do things that'll shift their perspectives and build positive habits. Players collect and train pets like in Pokémon by sending them out on missions. Alongside the pet training, players also get adventures they must go on. These adventures involve real world activities that get players to practice mindfulness, connectedness, and wonder. Adventures and pet missions earn players rewards. All of the real world activities involve basic self-reflection. Students can supply an email to save their progress and continue the game over weeks.

While there's not a significant connection to instruction or classrooms, teachers could use Guardians: Paradise Island to supplement their lessons on mental health and well-being. It's suitable for a wide range of grades, and could be a valuable tool to show students different strategies for maintaining mental well-being and potentially form new habits. The fact students get out in the world and practice these strategies on their own time (if they use the app honestly) is a neat way to connect classroom discussions to at-home learning. The rewards system could really work for some students; others may find it a little lacking if they're already playing similar games. Some students might fake their participation entirely (and there's really no way of knowing if they did). Even so, the basic premise and content in the app is neat and it shows students something very valuable: that small steps can have a big impact on mental well-being. It'd be nice, though, to see some of the materials adapted for use as standalone lessons or activities outside of the app. Doing so could allow the content to be used by an even wider variety of classrooms and students.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

There's a nice variety of activities for mental wellness, getting out in the world, and self reflection. The visual style is great but a little busy.



It's based on an abridged version of Behavioral Activation therapy, which is a key part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Students get practical steps and choice.


It's easy to navigate. There's a Contact Us form. There's a contextual tutorial that teaches the basics. No teacher dashboard or lesson supports.

Common Sense reviewer
Elvina Tong
Elvina Tong Computer Science and Innovation Teacher

Community Rating

Liked, not Loved

The game's function is to provide players with a fun and engaging way to explore their creativity, strategy, and social skills. It also promotes teamwork and collaboration, as players can work together to achieve common goals and share resources and knowledge. The purpose of the game is to entertain and challenge players while also helping them develop valuable skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and communication. It's great that the game is free to play, and also it does offer in-app purchases, and players should be mindful of their spending and privacy settings when playing.

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Privacy Rating

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