The Oregon Trail: American Settler

Common Sense Media says

Frontier building sim a fun, entertainment-focused sequel.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The controls are menu-driven and intuitive, and make great use of the touch screen.

Violence

Animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and bears will randomly appear and can be shot for food, but there is no blood. When killed, the animals disappear and turn into drumsticks of meat. Players can choose to simply let the animals run away, too.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The main menu includes links to Twitter and Facebook, and an offer to earn free game currency by watching a promotional ad. Players are prompted to review the game in the app store. The game is free but players can speed up gameplay and unlock special items by using a premium currency paid for with real money.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players can sign up for the Gameloft Live! service, an interactive network that requires personal information such as a valid email address. Within this service, you can connect to buddy lists, email inbox, and a list of supported Gameloft games. A live communication feature allows users to potentially chat (via text) online in various forums with strangers.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Oregon Trail: American Settler, a follow-up to The Oregon Trail, is a city- building sim that depicts pioneer life in the 1800s. It takes place after the family has completed its treacherous journey and arrived in Oregon ready to settle down. Players can shoot animals for extra food, but there is no blood and participation in the mini-game is optional. The game is free to play, but players can speed up the game and purchase exclusive items by paying real cash. The Gameloft Live! opt-in feature allows players to connect to strangers, including the ability to text chat online with others.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • historical figures
  • history

Skills

Collaboration

  • cooperation

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Strikingly similar to the social game FrontierVille, this new version of the classic Oregon Trail game is polished and enjoyable but much more designed for pure entertainment than edutainment.

Learning Approach

Kids are still empowered to decide how to deal with random events, but now the choice is whether to pay; "best" solutions cost premium currency; second-best, in-game gold; and third-best are free but cause negative outcomes. 

Support

The controls are menu-driven and intuitive and make great use of the touchscreen. The Gameloft Live! opt-in feature allows players to connect to other players and to text-chat online.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • historical figures
  • history

Skills

Collaboration

  • cooperation

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community

Kids can learn a little bit about what life was like living as a pioneer family on the American frontier in the 1800s -- including themes of teamwork and self-sufficiency -- by participating in this farming and building sim. The Oregon Trail: American Settler contains some interesting historical facts about frontier life, and there is an emphasis on the social interactions between Facebook friends. Unlike the original Oregon Trail titles, the American Settler sim offers kids limited opportunities for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Bell

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What's it about?

The Oregon Trail: American Settler offers an experience similar to social games like FrontierVille. In this simulation game, players create a frontier homestead by adding buildings, tending crops and animals, and maintaining settlers' happiness. Players can join Gameloft's social network, Gameloft Live!, to recruit neighbors and share status updates.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE OREGON TRAIL: AMERICAN SETTLER is far removed from both the original educational classroom PC simulation of the 1970s, and the Oregon Trail app. Instead, it bears a striking resemblance to the social game FrontierVille, complete with prompts to invite friends to the Gameloft Live! social network to become neighbors, buy the game's premium currency, and share status updates. The game is polished and enjoyable, but is much more designed for pure entertainment rather than edutainment.

Families can talk about...

  • Learn more about some of the historical figures players meet in the tavern. What role did they play in American history and frontier life?

  • Take your kids to a visit a pioneer village or watch a historical reenactment. You can find pioneer reenactments on YouTube!

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:November 17, 2011
Category:Simulation Games
Size:12.30 MB
Publisher:Gameloft
Version:1.0.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.1.3 or later

This review of The Oregon Trail: American Settler was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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