Busy Water

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Busy Water App Poster Image
Solve and create puzzles that gush with STEM learning.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about a variety of STEM concepts, use problem-solving skills, practice patience, and use substance properties to solve puzzles. Creative juices also flow freely when kids try their hand at coding and design and share their own levels. 

Ease of Play

Beginning levels easy once kids get the hang of it. Later levels have complicated tools and procedures with only minimal explanation and no help/hints, so kids may get stuck with no way to move forward.

Violence & Scariness

When the fish isn't led safely through the pipes with water, it turns purple, and kids hear some distressed breathing sounds. Cat also appears and laughs when fish doesn't make it. 

Sexy Stuff

Ads for additional apps are accessible only after user passes through a parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Busy Water is a leveled puzzle game that challenges kids to problem-solve and apply basic physics to get a fish safely through a maze of pipes. Over 100 levels each offer a unique challenge and unlock only after the user completes the previous level, and kids can also design their own levels. Some levels require kids to tilt the device to use "gravity" to move water, so be prepared for kids to do so safely. When the fish doesn't have enough water, it starts turning purple and makes struggled breathing sounds until it eventually disappears, and a smug cat laughs when the fish doesn't make it; sensitive kids might find these elements disturbing. The settings menu allows users to choose from more than 10 languages and features a parent's guide that details game instructions and offers extension ideas. For parents who also own an Apple Watch and/or have Apple TV, there are companion activities for those devices. Read the developer's clearly worded privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBriana S. September 8, 2017

Busy Water Review

Product: Busy Water
Age Range: 6-8 Years Old
Skills: Understanding cause and effect, refinement of fine motor skills, building cognitive agility and reasoning s... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

In the logical puzzle-solving game BUSY WATER, a tricky cat has unplugged Archie the fish's tank. Through over 100 levels, kids put together pipes, experiment with water in its various states, and use wheels, ropes, rotating planks, and gravity to direct Archie through various adventures until he's safely back in his aquarium. Since the tag line is "Think outside the tank," kids are encouraged to come up with original solutions and try new things, so they don't necessarily have to link pipes together to solve the puzzle. Play earns "algae," which kids can use to unlock special outfits for Archie. Though fewer attempts earn more algae, kids have unlimited chances to keep trying each level until they can pass it. The build mode allows kids to design their own levels and share them with friends through a special code.

Is it any good?

There's a lot that encourages kids to discover, experiment, and stretch out their logical problem-solving skills in this set of reasoning puzzles that touch on engineering and other STEM concepts. Archie the fish is a great, kid-friendly protagonist whose adventures are accompanied by sweet graphics and realistic sound effects. In fact, the gasping noises Archie makes when out of water might freak out some kids. Except for the very earliest levels -- which are a little slow to build in complexity -- there are often multiple ways to solve each level, so while kids never "fail" a level, there's also room to improve or try something different. It can be frustrating when kids get stuck, and it would be nice to see some help or hints at some point, even if it's just a clue and not an answer. The build mode is especially interesting because it puts kids in the driver's seat and lets them experience gaming, logic, and reasoning from a completely different perspective and then share their creations with friends. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real-life properties of the materials and tools represented in the game. Discuss and experiment with the states of water, and build water-transfer contraptions.

  • Help kids organize their problem-solving process by having them talk it though. Why are they arranging items in a certain way? What might be the next step? Why do moves need to happen in a certain order?

  • Work with your kids to create custom levels together, or make them independently and challenge each other to complete the level.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Science: engineering, gravity, motion, physics
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, solving puzzles, strategy, thinking critically
    Creativity: making new creations
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: July 25, 2016
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: STEM
  • Size: 98.80 MB
  • Publisher: EDOKI ACADEMY
  • Version: 1.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
  • Last updated: May 13, 2021

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