Dr. Panda's Bus Driver

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Dr. Panda's Bus Driver App Poster Image
Simple, fun simulation game puts kids in driver's seat.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to use their imaginations and role-play with Dr. Panda's Bus Driver. They also can learn a little about vehicle maintenance, geography, and social skills, especially with help and support from parents. Kids could learn more if their choices had some effect (for example, the bus stops if they choose not to stop for gas; they damage the tires if they don't slow down for the speed bump; the bus runs off the road if they don't steer; passengers get upset if kids don't let them cross the street). Dr. Panda's Bus Driver is a fun way for kids to role-play an everyday activity, and playing with parents is a great way to boost learning.

Ease of Play

There are no instructions or hints for use, but play is simple, and most preschoolers will get the hang of it.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There's a link to buy more of the developer's apps, though a lock protects kids. In the parents' section, you also can turn off the promotion tag altogether so kids don't see advertisements for more apps. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dr. Panda's Bus Driver is a very simple app that puts kids in the driver's seat of Dr. Panda's bus. There are a few ways in which kids can direct the driving experience (stop for pedestrians, pick up passengers, fill up the gas tank). Kids also can enjoy the ever-changing scenery as they drive through towns and mountains, over bridges, or through tunnels. There are no instructions or hints for use, but play is simple and straightforward, so kids won't need much time to figure it all out. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Kids are in the driver's seat in this driver-simulation game. They choose a view (through the windshield or above the bus) and a travel speed and steer using a finger (though the bus follows the road even without steering). Kids can choose to stop when they see a sign appear, sometimes to let on a passenger, other times to let a pedestrian cross the road. Kids also can stop to fill the gas tank and wash or paint the bus. The scenery is randomly generated, so it constantly changes, which makes every driving experience unique.

Is it any good?

DR. PANDA'S BUS DRIVER is fun, has great graphics, and is easily accessible, even for young kids. Kids will enjoy playing driver, as they're in charge of letting cute animal passengers get on the bus or cross the street. The scenery is interesting, and it's fun to admire the mountains, cute towns, drawbridges, and more. It would be nice if kids' actions (or inaction) had realistic consequences. For example, if kids choose not to stop to fill the gas tank, the bus could eventually stop driving, or a tire could be damaged if kids went over a speed bump too quickly. It might also be frustrating that kids have no control over what activity is offered. That is, if kids want to re-paint their bus, they have to wait until the opportunity is randomly cycled through. Overall, though, Dr. Panda's Bus Driver is an engaging simulation game for young kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about road safety. Why is it important to stop for pedestrians, not speed through a town, keep your vehicle clean, and so on?

  • Ask questions about the scenery. What kind of place do you think the bus is driving around in? Does it remind you of anything you've seen before or anywhere you've been?

  • Kids can learn more if parents help extend some of the themes by asking questions or drawing connections to things that have happened or could happen in kids' lives.

App details

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For kids who love driving games and preschool apps

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