Deskplorers "Pirates" (Episode Two) HD

App review by
Carolyn Koh, Common Sense Media
Deskplorers "Pirates" (Episode Two) HD App Poster Image
Fun adventure with learning and storytelling along the way.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Game controls are very simple. Everything is accomplished by swiping and tapping -- from reading the book to the mini-games, which have easy and hard levels.

Violence & Scariness

With a pirates theme, you can expect swashbuckling with a little waving of cutlasses and cannons, but no one dies. Characters who get hit by a coconut cannonball are dazed with cartoon stars and swirls around their heads. In a tense moment, a character does get dangled over piranha fish with sharp teeth, but otherwise, this is a very kid-friendly game.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

At the desktop, kids can see icons for other episodes in the "book," and those link directly to the iTunes App Store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Deskplorers "Pirates" (Episode Two) HD is a fun app that blends storytelling, games, and learning, and is a stand-alone, pirate-themed episode of a larger series. There's some pirate-themed violence, but it's cartoony. There are several other themes in development as well as completed episodes, and Episode Zero is available to be downloaded for free from the iTunes store. The game has three profiles for the family with more than one child, as well as a parents section that explains how the game works. This review is based on the iPad version in HD; a standard-definition version is also available for the iPhone/iPod touch.

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Is it any good?

Kids follow the adventures of Tom, Lea, Spoon, and Scrabot in the Caribbean as they find buried treasure and thwart a band of naughty kids who are their adversaries. The reading level is suitable for 6- to 8-year-olds, although parents can help younger kids read but have them exercise their deductive abilities. Each of six chapters requires kids to solve a puzzle by "cutting" out and "pasting" the right object needed into the story. If kids choose the wrong object, they can earn points to try again by playing one of three games: a simple tower defense game, a rhythm game, and tilt game that uses the device's accelerometer. 

After the first run through, kids are encouraged to try the game in French or to try the detailed version where they have to not just find the right object, but also the page where it would fit best. All in all, this is a well-done game that will engage younger children
with sound, music, and animation, including a short movie "reward" when
they solve the puzzles.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: $1.99 / 3.99 (iPhone / iPad)
  • Release date: April 21, 2011
  • Category: Kids' Games
  • Publisher: Bulkypix
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 3.2 or later

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