Agents of Discovery

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Agents of Discovery App Poster Image
Cool location-based missions for visits to special sites.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Apply technology outdoors to learn about many natural science topics. As kids investigate the missions, they can also learn about exploration, decision-making, and cultural understanding.

Ease of Play

Clear instructions given by the "agent handler," easy-to-use toolbar. It may be difficult to find a mission in your area, and missions are not searchable by location keyword or map within the app.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Agents of Discovery is an adventure game that encourages kids to explore the natural world by completing app-based missions in real-world sites. The missions are based in various geographic areas (Texas, Southern California, Wisconsin, Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, and Alabama have the most), and users find missions in their area by the locations' names. Note that the app is meant for use during visits to special sites, not daily use, so there are locations without missions. Check out the available missions before you take your kids out with the promise of adventure. On the missions, they go on scavenger hunts, answer questions, and complete other challenges to earn points for rewards, so be sure to set rules around how and when they can do missions. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

To play AGENTS OF DISCOVERY, first create an account. Read the intro story. Select Training or go directly into the field as a special agent. Once you've selected a mission near your location, download it to your device, and view your navigator on the map. Tap the animal icon in the upper left of your device's screen to ask your "field agent helper" about the challenges within a mission. View the missions, answer the questions, and earn "USBees" as you learn more during each mission. Most missions are available in public places and institutions like national forests or zoos, but schools and communities can pay to create their own missions as well.

Is it any good?

Using gaming to get kids exploring outdoors is an ideal way to connect technology and nature, and this app can do just that on trips to national forests and other special sites. The missions on Agents of Discovery encourage kids to dig deeper into an area and learn more about some specific plants, animals, and more around them. The companion web-based Agents of Discovery Mission Maker empowers schools and others to make their own missions, too, using a tiered pricing model. So, while it's not super easy (or cheap) for parents to create missions on their own, it's possible to explore what's available in your location or pay the mission-creation fee with some other parents to make some missions in your neighborhood. Mostly, however, if you check out the list of places where missions already exist, you can add a fun adventure to a family trip.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how learning games like Agents of Discovery can help kids explore places in a more in-depth way by asking questions, prompting them to search for certain things, and encouraging them to learn more about their surroundings. How can your kid take that same learning mindset anywhere they go? 

  • Talk about your family's safety rules for exploring outdoor public spaces to keep the missions safe and fun. Can kids do the missions on their own? Do they need an adult with them? 

App details

For kids who love adventure and the outdoors

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