A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Koda Quest - A Fingerprint Network App combines kid-safe social networking, caring for a virtual pet, and offscreen missions that ask kids to do real-life activities. The app is a collaboration between Cool the Earth, a nonprofit working to address climate change, and Fingerprint Network, an app developer. The game encourages kids to interact with parents and introduces some things everyone in the family can do to "help stop global warming." Kids earn points and pass levels as they complete missions and interact with Koda, the polar bear. The Fingerprint Network is unrelated to the game itself and allows users to make multiple accounts as well as send and receive pre-written messages, and it advertises their entire lineup of other apps.
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What's it about?
In KODA QUEST - A FINGERPRINT NETWORK APP, Koda is a polar bear on an ever-shrinking iceberg, and kids perform tasks to help him. First, kids choose a generated screen name. Then, on each of 20 levels, they play mini-games, play with Koda, and perform offscreen missions. The mini-games involve fishing trash out of the ocean and swiping away "carbon critters." Missions include activities such as drinking tap instead of bottled water or using cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Depending on the mission, kids must let a certain amount of time pass before they can tap "did it"; they can continue to play the mini-games and interact with Koda while time runs out if they choose not to do the mission. They'll have to say they did it to continue playing, however. Kids also interact with Koda by giving the bear food, exercise, baths, and naps to complete levels. Every activity awards points; if parents register to monitor and play along, kids can rack up even more points. Users also can participate in an unrelated, internal social network.
Is it any good?
The app has a worthy goal -- get kids to establish environmentally friendly habits, and a creative combination of screen play and real-life activities may actually get kids taking some concrete steps toward that goal. If parents play along, kids get more rewards. Yet the app is segmented, and content coverage is fairly superficial. For example, there's no background or explanation behind the missions or games. Why use a reusable water bottle? How do we recycle, and what other ways can we reduce trash? Missions -- even ones to, for example, draw a picture of Koda's home -- all are introduced in the same way: Complete this mission to "help stop global warming." Interactions with Koda are fun but woefully unrelated to the missions, and the social network feature is separate from the game. For example, kids can't progress through the levels under their personal user accounts. This is simple fun with a good cause, but parents will want to provide a lot of support and background information to connect the dots.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's important to think about climate change and what concrete changes the whole family can make, and maintain, to help.
Play with kids and help them complete the missions. Discuss what they're doing and why and what impact it can have.
Explore the social-network element together, discuss why it can be fun, and talk about what precautions kids should take when participating.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Science: animals
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals
Collaboration: meeting challenges together
Responsibility & Ethics: honoring the community
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: May 5, 2015
- Category: Educational Games
- Topics: Science and nature, Wild animals
- Size: 105.00 MB
- Publisher: Fingerprint
- Version: 1.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 2.3 and up
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For kids who love animals and the environment
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.