Alchemy ~ Genetics

Common Sense Media says

Kids create crazy animal combos in fun but repetitive app.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Menus and gameplay are a bit confusing, and Wikipedia links can be overlooked.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The free version has banner ads.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The app doesn't require users to enter any information to play, but there's no privacy policy in the app or on the developer's website to explain what, if any, information is collected automatically and how it would be used. There is a link to the app's Facebook page.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Alchemy ~ Genetics is an animal recombination game that uses basic characteristics and links to Wikipedia for scientific value. If your kid likes animals and has a sense of humor, this game will provide some entertainment. If they dig a little deeper, they may even enjoy reading some Wikipedia entries about the animals (though Simple English Wikipedia website entries would be more appropriate). Gameplay consists primarily of dragging or tapping animal icons and trying different sequences (rat, then mole, then ant; or ant, then mole, then rat), but the thrill of "creating" a new creature will keep some kids happy for quite a while -- especially those who like collecting. Some of the combinations have some sense of logic; others are a stretch. Despite the suggestion of unusual creatures by the app icon (rat with wings), none of the animals created is found outside of natural processes.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary

Science

  • animals
  • biology

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • deduction
  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic
  • memorization

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Graphics are cute and clean. Some kids will love collecting and making new, weird animals and might even read about the real critters. Others may get bored with repetitive gameplay.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn animal names and basic characteristics, and if they're feeling up to it they can read Wikipedia entries.

Support

The help page explains a lot, but many kids are likely to skip it. The hint button helps a little, but not always. Navigation and gameplay can be confusing.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary

Science

  • animals
  • biology

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • deduction
  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic
  • memorization

Kids can learn some animal vocabulary, how to follow and remember testing sequences, and, if they read the Wikipedia entries, wild creature biology. Kids will practice perseverance if they dig deep into the 525 possible critters, and they'll practice a lot of trial and error. Alchemy ~ Genetics has an interesting premise, but further refinement would boost the learning value.

This Learning Rating review was written by Leslie Crenna

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What's it about?

Starting with three animals, kids drag one animal over another or tap to create new animals. The plus button allows kids to add any existing animals to the playspace; pressing and holding in the list window will display characteristics, existing combinations, and a link to a Wikipedia entry for the animal. The challenge button (light bulb) displays current target creatures.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

ALCHEMY ~ GENETICS is similar to other entertainment-oriented combination apps like Alchemy and Doodle God. The difference? This one leaves out the mature content and adds links to Wikipedia articles for every creature created. (In some ways it's more like Pocket Frogs.) Some creature-loving kids will love creating and collecting up to 525 animals and may even read about the real-life critters. Others will get bored with the repetitive gameplay and won't engage with the adult-level scientific information.

A great deal of gameplay is simply testing sequences of possible combinations over and over. Some kids will actually try to think about characteristics to create the challenge creatures, but, for the most part the logic is not all that logical: Hedgehog plus dragonfly makes opossum; ant plus squirrel makes flea; owl plus opossum makes eagle. Others have some logic: Ant plus rat [tailed] equals scorpion; fish plus scorpion [venomous] equals scorpion fish. If nothing else, Alchemy ~ Genetics will get your kids wondering about animal characteristics. Try introducing your kids to the Simple English Wikipedia website if they are struggling with reading the Wikipedia entries or just ignoring them.

Families can talk about...

  • Introduce your kids to Simple English Wikipedia website if they're struggling with the Wikipedia entries.

  • Kids interested in animals and collecting will enjoy Pocket Frogs.

  • Use our Wikipedia tips to help kids understand how to evaluate sources of information.

App details

Devices:Android, Kindle Fire
Price:Free-$.99
Pricing structure:Free, Paid
Release date:December 3, 2012
Category:Puzzle Games
Topics:Bugs, Cats, dogs, and mice, Horses and farm animals, Ocean creatures, Science and nature, Wild animals
Size:5.30 MB
Publisher:Creative Mobile
Version:1.1.6
Minimum software requirements:Android 1.5 and up

This review of Alchemy ~ Genetics 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.

Find out more

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