A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn and practice doing a handful of things that can help conserve the earth and possibly slow global warming, such as conserving water, reducing trash, and curbing food waste. If parents get involved, kids will work on communication and teamwork skills, as they're encouraged to share what they're doing with their parents. Yet without background explanation, kids won't learn much about the why and how of what they're being asked to do unless parents chime in or kids research on their own. Koda Quest - A Fingerprint Network App encourages kids to act beyond the app but without much context.
Ease of Play
Interaction is easy: Just tap, sometimes drag. Navigation through different game areas is harder, but kids will learn quickly as they explore.
Products & Purchases
Automatically suggests other apps to buy, and many other apps advertised in "games" section.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.