Heart Street Market

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Heart Street Market App Poster Image
Global girls' game is light on cultural info, has purchases.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a bit about different cultures, but it doesn't really go far enough for kids to build a lot of understanding.

Ease of Play

Though kids will have no trouble exploring and the mini-games all have instructions, some of the mini-game controls are tricky.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

There are in-app purchases (clothing packs) that have a multiplication parent gate. Entire experience centers around earning coins to buy things from the market.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Heart Street Market is a game tied to a brand of multicultural dolls. It focuses on girls from four countries (India, USA, Mexico, and Ethiopia). There are in-app purchases for girls who enjoy the dress-up aspect. Though there are two clothing packs they can buy, these are not central to the game, and purchases are blocked by a multiplication-based parent gate. Younger kids may find a few of the games' controls to be tricky. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

HEART STREET MARKET invites players into the communities of four girls from around the world: Mexico, Ethiopa, India, and the USA (Appalachian Mountains region). Each girl is helping out with tasks around town in an effort to create new buildings in the community. Players are asked to play mini-games to earn money that they can use to purchase items in the market. These items help the Heart Street Market girls complete quests around town. In each country, there are two mini-games that have some connection to the daily life or culture, and the game mechanics have some overlap. There are games where you connect baking ingredients or colored water on a grid, guide geese or skeletons to collect things, and run and avoid obstacles. Once kids gather money, they head to the market and buy whatever the girl has requested. When the quest is complete, one of the buildings proceeds to the next stage of construction. Market stands include construction materials, baking needs, herbs, fruits and vegetables, sports equipment, educational/creative items, and a clothing stand where kids can dress the girls up in a variety of outfits native to each of the four areas. Gated in-app purchases buy more outfits.

Is it any good?

While it's great to have an app with different cultures represented, the multicultural aspect is eclipsed by a focus on shopping. Not only is the primary goal in Heart Street Market to continually purchase things, the actual market is the same across all four countries. Though there's plenty of cultural interest woven into the game -- skeletons marching in a parade in Mexico, powerful mandalas in India -- kids receive no explanation of how those object fit into the lives of the people in those countries. And even the requests the girls make are devoid of any story or connection to the lives of the girls. Kids who are already familiar with those cultures or who have been reading the online diaries on the brand website may understand the references, but most kids won't. Splash screens that appear during loading tell a bit more about each girl and her life, but once the game has fully loaded, they move too quickly to read any of it. The dress-up area is bound to be a hit, especially the sections where kids can do some of their own designing. The mini-games are cute but don't seem to have any connection to the activities they are tied to. It's unfortunate that there's so much repetition and not a lot of depth, because the graphics are beautiful and the girls seem like kids you'd like to get to know a bit more. Most kids will find some entertainment, but in terms of it truly being a multicultural experience, parents may want to seek out other options that feel more meaningful.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different cultures around the world and in the Heart Street Market app. What are some things we have in common with those cultures? What are some differences? What do you have in common with the girls in the app?

  • Talk to your kids about screen use and limits. How can kids enjoy digital media in balance with other activities?

  • Discuss in-app purchases and how/if kids can request purchases from an adult. What are the family rules?

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love diverse characters and learning about other cultures

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