A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: engineering
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, solving puzzles, thinking critically
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free (higher levels require in-app purchase ranging from $2.99 to $7.99)
- Release date: November 4, 2016
- Category: Education
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Size: 350.00 MB
- Publisher: Radiant Games
- Version: 2.2.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.1 or later
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.