Box Island - Award Winning Coding Adventure

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Box Island - Award Winning Coding Adventure App Poster Image
Cute coding adventure introduces logic of computer science.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basics of computer science by practicing the logic of coding, including the basics of loops, conditionals, and debugging. Kids aren't writing code, per se, but are dragging visual blocks of code into place and practicing step-by-step thinking. 

Ease of Play

No directions so players are left to figure out through trial and error.

Violence

Red-eyed monsters must be avoided in game, but they either jump on your box or make it disappear.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Unlocking all levels requires an in-app purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Box Island is a story-based coding adventure to introduce kids to the basics of computer programming. Kids give Hiro, the box, step-by-step instructions for how to move on the island to collect stars. The levels get progressively harder, but kids can replay as many times as necessary. Play is available in 20 languages, though very little reading or instruction is needed. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Hiro the box is on a journey in BOX ISLAND, and young coders have to program specific instructions for how to move him around the island, avoiding obstacles. The first 10 levels are included for free, and others require an in-app purchase to unlock. Each puzzle is more challenging than the next, and, with minimal instruction, kids are left to problem-solve how to maneuver the box to its destination as simply as possible. As kids progress, the types of obstacles expand and include things such as a red box shooting a laser, a wooden box you can push, and shells. Kids can replay a level as many times as they need, and they can track Hiro's journey on the map of the island.

Is it any good?

Story-based adventure entertains and challenges kids while teaching basics of programming logic, much like many other coding games. There's nothing especially innovative about the approach of teaching kids to use visual blocks of code, but this gender-neutral narrative will likely have wide appeal. The graphics are vivid, though the box, Hiro, seems a simple choice for the main character. As they increase and change, the monsters and obstacles kids encounter keep them engaged and challenged while the programming concepts introduced are solid. Though the lack of instructions and explanations is purposeful, optional hints and a bridge to more understanding about coding could enhance the experience. Like some others of its ilk, this block coder introduces some of the basics and wraps them up in an appealing, kid-friendly package.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about computer science being the foundation for the technology we use everyday. Talk to kids about why it's important to understand the basics of coding, even as a tech user.

  • Talk to kids about the increasing challenge they'll face as the levels increase and why it's important to try a solution, that's it's OK to fail at it, and that it's essential to try again.

App details

Themes & Topics

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