A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Madagascar -- Join the Circus! wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
Ease of Play
There is a little bit of an intro that requires reading skills to help players get started. However, the app would benefit from a bit more instruction as players explore the different parts of the circus, such as how to play Marty's Striped Cannonball Act, or tips that tell players they have to "make" products to earn more tickets.
Violence & Scariness
In Marty's Striped Cannonball Act, Marty is repeatedly shot out of a cannon -- but no harm comes to him.
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Products & Purchases
In this build-a-circus game, kids can speed up the game by making purchases with real money. The overall theme of the game is to sell tickets and products, and some of the products are "sponsored" such as the Dole food cart. Finally, this app promotes the Madagascar 3 movie.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Madagascar -- Join the Circus! is a building simulation app in which players build a circus and play mini-games. The more kids build, the more tickets they earn to buy more to build. If they spend real money, they can build faster, with in-app purchases ranging from $.99 to $99.99. Kids can take a break from their circus management duties and waiting for the ticket stubs to stack up and play the one fun interactive game, Marty’s Striped Cannonball Act, which is similar to Pong. Overall, while this game is not as realistic as other sims in that kids won’t really learn the ins and outs of running a circus, it's a nice way to take part and continue the adventures from the movie, Madagascar 3. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, participation is optional, and players cannot take an active part in each other’s circus.
Is It Any Good?
Madagascar -- Join the Circus! is a fun way for kids to connect with their favorite characters from the Madagascar movies. However, the consumer nature of the app will trouble some parents, as in-app purchases will help speed things along, and will be tempting to young players. Kids also have to be able to read to play this on their own. Otherwise, it’s a simple, but addictive game where Alex the Lion and Gloria the Hippo continue to work even when you’re not playing, earning tickets for you!
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.