Art Stories Wonders

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Art Stories Wonders App Poster Image
Cool info, but misses mark for controls, cultural content.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a bit about historical and cultural landmarks around the world.

Ease of Play

Games lack clear directions, have overly sensitive controls.

Violence & Scariness

A gladiator chases a lion with a sword.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Art Stories Wonders is a collection of mini-games that kids complete as they travel the world visiting famous landmarks. The mini-game directions and educational content require solid reading skills, although kids may be able to figure out the games without reading. Some of the games could use better instructions, and many of them have controls that will be difficult for kids, especially younger kids. They require a lot of patience and some fine-motor skills. Kids cannot progress without successfully completing a mini-game. There are some grammar errors in the informational text. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

ART STORIES WONDERS leads kids on an adventure around the world as they visit 13 famous landmarks, including Chichen Itza, Kinkakuji Temple, the Great Wall, Macchu Picchu, Serengeti Park, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Barrier Reef, the Eiffel Tower, Petra, and the Colosseum. Each location has a game that kids must complete in order to win three objects: a magnifying glass, a compass, and a camera. For each of the items found, kids will receive an image and/or a bit more information about the landmark. Kids must win the game in order to unlock the next location, but they do not have to find all three objects to move on. The games vary in difficulty and also in how closely they tie to the theme of the location. At the Colosseum, kids play tic-tac-toe against the computer using a lion and gladiator instead of X and O. The Great Barrier Reef requires fishing trash out of the ocean. The game at Kinkakuji Temple asks kids to close all of the umbrellas (by tapping) before the time runs out and before they open again.

Is it any good?

While the journey around the world holds interesting information, an opportunity is lost by the lack of engaging educational or cultural content in the mini-games. Art Stories Wonders holds plenty of treasures in the travel information; kids can learn about Japanese netsuke and Mayan football, for instance. There are a few grammatical errors in the text, which may be due to translation mistakes. But the primary thing that keeps this from being a wonderful learning experience is that the mini-games have overly challenging controls and are largely uninspired. Playing Mayan football, for example, requires holding on to your avatar and swinging him at the ball in the hopes that it will fly through an extremely small hoop. Sure, you have 50 tries to get 10 points, but that doesn't make it more fun. At Macchu Picchu, you must tilt the device to help your avatar, who is riding a llama, climb to the top of the ruins while avoiding snakes and capturing objects. But the controls aren't particularly sensitive, and your llama will fall several stories if you miss a platform. Petra, which is similar to the umbrella game in Japan, involves swiping away all of the camels before time runs out. It doesn't make much sense, although it does have easier controls. And it seems that a version of tic-tac-toe may have originated during the Roman Empire, but kids are never told that in the app. Curious kids will enjoy all of the tidbits of information, and the idea of the mini-games is smart. They just don't quite live up to their potential.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about monuments and landmarks in Art Stories Wonders and in real lfe. What are some landmarks or historical monuments you have visited? What landmarks would you like to visit? Do any of the landmarks in the game sound interesting?

  • Talk about figuring things out if instructions don't feel clear. What are strategies you can use? How do you get past obstacles?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, geography, history
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, spatial reasoning, strategy
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try ($.99 in-app purchase for full content)
  • Release date: October 12, 2018
  • Category: Educational Games
  • Topics: Adventures, History
  • Size: 177.90 MB
  • Publisher: Art Stories
  • Version: 1.4
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
  • Last updated: January 11, 2019

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