What parents need to know
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
Language & Reading
- reading comprehension
Thinking & Reasoning
- asking questions
Engagement, Approach, Support
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.
Kids can learn animal names and basic characteristics, and if they're feeling up to it they can read Wikipedia entries.
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'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?
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...
|Devices:||Android, Kindle Fire|
|Pricing structure:||Free, Paid|
|Release date:||December 3, 2012|
|Topics:||Bugs, Cats, dogs, and mice, Horses and farm animals, Ocean creatures, Science and nature, Wild animals|
|Minimum software requirements:||Android 1.5 and up|