Dora and Friends Back to the Rainforest

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Dora and Friends Back to the Rainforest App Poster Image
Despite Dora's charm, repetitive arcade game is a dud.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a few Spanish words and practice colors and quantities in very small doses. Every once in a while during narration, Dora will say a word in Spanish. The words are strategically placed in context, so kids should easily pick up on their meanings. Also, occasionally kids must choose the right quantity (using English number names) or identify colors (using Spanish color names) to help Dora continue her journey. Kids also will work a bit on reaction time and hand-eye coordination as they guide Dora through each land. Despite these minimal educational elements, the bulk of the game is making Dora jump, so Dora and Friends Back to the Rainforest doesn't offer the same learning opportunities that other Dora videos or games do.

Ease of Play

Play is simple, though some kids may have trouble reacting quickly enough to maneuver Dora as she runs along.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This app is part of both the Dora the Explorer and Nickelodeon brands. "More from NickJr" icon on the home page leads to parent gate (where you read and enter names of numbers) beyond which more apps by Nick Jr. are available.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in Dora and Friends Back to the Rainforest, Dora is on an adventure to retrieve her friends Backpack and Map. As Dora races through four "rainforest settings," kids help her jump to collect items. Just like on the TV show, along the way kids hear Spanish words. With little else going on here, it will probably be most exciting for kids who are already familiar with Dora. During a few parts kids will need to tilt the screen to help Dora cross an obstacle, so prep kids to handle the device gently.

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What's it about?

Boots has lost Backpack and Map somewhere in the rainforest, and he enlists Dora's help in retrieving them. DORA AND FRIENDS BACK TO THE RAINFOREST is an arcade adventure lightly supported by a story line. In endless-runner fashion, Dora races through four settings while kids make her jump to collect items that "fell out" of Backpack. Along the way, Dora greets familiar friends and grabs objects for her charm collection. Every once in a while, kids hear some Spanish words or need to identify color or quantity to help Dora move forward.

Is it any good?

Despite great graphics and the Dora-typical nonchalant usage of Spanish vocabulary, the repetition of jumping and collecting with little other content is disappointing. It's kid-friendly because Dora can't fall off a cliff, be eaten by creatures, and so on; so long as kids keep playing, Dora always makes it to the end of the level. But that can take a while since the levels are long. However, because she's constantly moving forward, it can be difficult for young kids to move her in time to collect items. The background story nicely provides a bit of context and scaffolds kids' imaginations, but play sorely lacks variety -- and logic. Other than a few unique small tasks or obstacles thrown in to each "land," the only things that change from one land to the next are the background graphics and what Dora collects (bananas, teddy bears, and so on), and it's unclear why kids rack up items at all. Finally, sometimes bugs interrupt the game flow, and being able to turn off the frenetic music would help. Parents looking for Dora-branded games and activities for little fans will do better looking elsewhere.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Spanish words that appear in the app. Try to use them in conversations, and find ways to learn and incorporate new Spanish words as well. Learn songs in Spanish and sing them together.

  • Read books that introduce Spanish words or that feature stories and information about Spanish-speaking cultures.

  • Talk about how easy it is to just keep playing games like this and discuss the importance of setting limits. Work with your kids to create guidelines that work for your family.

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