Astroblast Rocket Rush

 

Learning(i)

Preschool-friendly, fast-moving fun for fans of Sprout show.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Although there's no beginning tutorial, this app is quite easy to play. Once kids tap on something, the app prompts them on what to do next or what the options are. Tap ? for some instructions. Swiping and tapping to navigate the ship is very easy and not about precision. Kids can either swipe or tap to move the rocket ship up or down and collect energy orbs. It may be confusing at first for younger kids to move back and forth between the screens where they choose characters and rocket ships and return to the gameplay screen. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This free app has no in-app purchases. Its characters are connected to the Sprout channel show Astroblast!; the Sprout logo appears each time the game is opened.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can enter a name to keep their scores, but they remain on the device. The entire Sprout media privacy policy appears on the Sprout website.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Astroblast Rocket Rush is a free spaceship-flying game for preschoolers. Connected with the Sprout channel's series Astroblast!, this game sends kids on a mission flying spaceships through obstacles while collecting orbs of energy to power up each spaceship. Kids can earn upgrades and new parts for different spaceships (such as magnets that attract more energy). They also can choose the different Astroblast characters as their pilots and see their personal high scores. Intended for preschool-age Sprout viewers, the app includes no in-app purchases and no end goal, and kids don't compete against others or "win" the game. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • naming
  • vocabulary

Math

  • numbers

Science

  • energy

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Speeding through space on the spaceship as you avoid obstacles is tons of fun. Moving among the hangar (where kids upgrade their ships), the character-selection page, and the game would be easier if it were more simply designed for preschool users, perhaps with more audio instructions.

Learning Approach

Preschoolers can learn how to navigate a fast-paced app game with just a few swipes and taps as they avoid obstacles. With guidance, kids can also learn and practice some vocabulary.

Support

Some visual and audio prompts help kids learn the game's basics. Tap on ? for further instructions. Adding a parent section with questions and extension ideas could help boost the app's learning potential.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • naming
  • vocabulary

Math

  • numbers

Science

  • energy

Kids can learn how to navigate a fast-paced game by playing Astroblast Rocket Rush, yet only if it's at the right speed for preschoolers. As kids watch their energy meters go up when they collect energy orbs and then reduce as they use the energy to propel the spaceship, they get a tiny glimpse into the basics of energy input and output. With some help, kids can increase their vocabularies by naming the different obstacles (some space-related, some everyday objects). As kids view their high scores, they can name the number and watch it increase. With parent prompting, preschoolers may be able to identify how much the new high score has increased from the last high score. Astroblast Rocket Rush is fast-paced fun with a stardusting of learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

What's it about?

Kids tap "play" on ASTROBLAST ROCKET RUSH and enter the space station, where they're prompted to choose a character for the mission. When the game screen appears, begin to tap or swipe the spaceship up and down to collect the colorful energy orbs. Avoid the obstacles (if you run into an obstacle, a bright light flashes and noises sound, but the ship doesn't crash). Arrive at the checkpoints to tally points and get upgrades. Switch screens to the hangar to add cool stuff to your ship. This flying spaceship game is easy fun for preschoolers.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Astroblast Rocket Rush's cute characters, customizable spaceships, shiny energy orbs, and funny obstacles make it an all-systems-go choice for preschoolers, especially those who like the related Sprout show, Astroblast!. Little players can earn points without the worry of crashing their ships, a definite plus for kids new to games. At first, the app could be frustrating for some kids on the younger end of this app's age range because it takes a few tries to get the hang of how to move the spaceship, as well as how to move in and out of the game screen and onto the character-choosing and spaceship-decorating screens. There's a bit (but not a lot) of audio help. Once kids understand the basics, gameplay is easy.

The especially great thing about this app for preschoolers is that the game doesn't expect their hand or finger motions to be very precise to grab the energy orbs or fly the spaceship in any direction. For parents who are expecting the game to include lots of traditional educational content, this may disappoint. But for kids looking to zoom around galaxies with familiar characters for fun, this app can be a blast.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about and name the obstacles as they pass -- meteors, rubber duckies, a satellite dish, a fish bowl -- for some silly vocabulary fun. 

  • Is your kid frustrated with navigating this app? Tap the ? tab for more help.

  • Even though this game isn't about winning and losing, it does provide a score at various intervals. Encourage your preschooler to focus on fun, not the score.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 1, 2014
Category:Education
Topics:Adventures, Space and aliens
Size:28.00 MB
Publisher:PBS KIDS Sprout
Version:1.0.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Astroblast Rocket Rush was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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