AR Diorama - Qurious Island

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
AR Diorama - Qurious Island App Poster Image
Nature-themed AR game fun but glitchy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can start to think about plants, animals, and ecosystems. They can also stretch their imaginations by creating their own real-world content and recording video of what they see.

Ease of Play

Getting the app to recognize your flat surface and then placing objects on it so you can interact with them (in terms of size and location) is tricky. Taps don't always register properly, and the app occasionally crashes or returns to the home screen without warning. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that AR Diorama - Qurious Island is an augmented reality (AR) experience that encourages kids to combine real-world crafts and objects with a virtual environment. Young kids may struggle with the controls as they can be somewhat finicky and require tapping on small moving objects. Expect that kids will want to move around with the device to be able to see different sides of the world. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

AR DIORAMA - QURIOUS ISLAND is an augmented reality play set for kids. They start out by pointing their device at a flat surface to create a virtual play space. Once they choose an environment, they're greeted by Manu the Meerkat, who can interact with all of the items in the game. Kids add elements from the app, such as a palm tree, a pond, a cloud, a tent, a rock, or seed, and they can learn a bit more about each one. They are also encouraged to create physical elements to include in their place space. Kids can move around with the device to see the environment from different angles. Kids can also record video of their playtime or voice notes to attach to each of the objects. As they play, kids might unlock island secrets, such as a rainbow. 

Is it any good?

There's some magic on this island that has the potential to delight kids, but some glitches are likely to get in the way. AR Diorama - Qurious Island is a clever idea. Using real-world and virtual elements together gives kids the space to be creative and go beyond what the app designers have imagined. There's even a downloadable PDF with craft suggestions to get kids started. The reality doesn't quite live up to the promise, though. The controls don't always work as expected, and the app occasionally crashes or does something unexpected. It's also tricky to angle the device so that the flat surface results in a playable environment, especially if a little kid is playing independently. Great idea, but the execution needs polish.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about nature. What are some plants and animals in AR Diorama - Qurious Island that you've seen in your own life? What are some other plants and animals that you see?

  • Talk about creativity. Using the downloadable Island Field Guide DIY Craft Book or your own imagination, create real-world objects to use in the scenes. Color a backdrop, make your own plants, or create some animals. 

  • Talk to your kids about screen use and limits. How can kids enjoy digital media in balance with other activities?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad
  • Subjects: Science: animals, ecosystems, plants
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: January 5, 2018
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Science and Nature, Wild Animals
  • Size: 355.00 MB
  • Version: 1.4
  • Minimum software requirements: 11.0 or later

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