A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Although Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants - A Fingerprint Network App was created with educational intent, we don't recommend it for learning. Though the iTunes store descriptions says that kids can learn interesting facts about insects, the facts are very brief. Kids can learn that snails can move up to 130 kilometers a year and eat lettuce, for example, but most of the facts are pretty mundane, such as "the spider awaits her prey from the middle of her web, without budging."
Ease of Play
Moving the ladybug is not an intuitive motion for native touchscreen users, and gameplay is challenging.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon-like violence is shown as the ladybug races and interacts with insects and the environment. When the ladybug wins the race, the fly is seen being taken away on a leaf-ambulance. When the ladybug loses or hits a deadly object, she is carried away by the fly.
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Products & Purchases
Though purchases are protected in the parent-controlled environment, kids will see links to other Fingerprint apps if they tap the Fingerprint logo. You can purchase new locations and upgrades via in-app purchases from $2 to $4.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Minuscule is free but has in-app purchase options. The bug characters are from a French animated series, and kids can unlock clips as part of the app (some clips require you to unlock specific locations via in-app purchase). Minuscule is part of the Fingerprint game network, which offers family accounts and includes tight parental controls for those in-app purchases, but it does advertise and recommend other Fingerprint apps.
Is It Any Good?
Advancing through the levels is frustrating on MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS - A FINGERPRINT NETWORK APP, but the challenge and hope of winning the race is still fun -- and it is possible. Kids need pretty good dexterity to maneuver quickly to avoid the bugs and obstacles they need to steer clear of while still diving or flying higher to reach the objects they want for power-ups. Kids can replay the levels or move on once they've unlocked the next. The graphics and sound effects are cute, but the "facts" about each bug are simplistic and centered on the game; they lack important, factual detail. For example, kids will read that the ladybug is a "real little pest. Her favorite pastime is bugging the flies and getting them riled up so they will go on a wild chase with her."
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.