Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt

App review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt App Poster Image
Repetition, delays may make kids want to stay on dry land.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about completing tasks, working toward goals, and being thorough. The app provides some reading experience, as well, and kids will follow instructions. Earning and spending currency offers a small amount of addition, subtraction, and money management experience. Kids don't perform varied tasks, so they don't really get a chance to do much strategizing or use logic. They don't learn any historical facts, but the app may spark an interest in learning more about the past, archeology, and possibly the ocean.

Ease of Play

In addition to a map that indicates what players have completed and need to do next, they're given written instructions as the experience advances. There isn't an FAQ or other resource to check if they have questions, though.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Players will see occasional ads. When their playing time runs out, they can use gems to continue. They may need to buy extra gems for $0.99-$39.99, unless they've earned enough gems, which is hard to do.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt is an interactive adventure app for iOS devices. The game is free to use, but the app limits the amount of time gamers can play it unless they buy gems or watch an ad. The kid-friendly content includes brief videos with actors portraying characters who offer information. Instructions are provided to walk players through each new aspect of the experience, making it easy to follow. They don't get to do too much -- kids spend a lot of time cleaning items from dives -- but they have to do it well to continue playing, and it could spark an interest in archeology or the ocean.

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What's it about?

MYSTERY COAST: TREASURE HUNT features live-action scenes and an interactive task kids perform. A small crew aboard the Mary Rose recover lost artifacts from shipwrecks, which kids swipe repeatedly across the screen to wipe clean. A map outlines upcoming work. Some cleaning activities are preceded by short videos where crew members explain the diving missions, which aren't shown. As kids advance, they can unlock portions of a story involving one of the characters, although they need to play for some time before seeing the first one.

Is it any good?

This app's premise, which involves kids going on an archeological sea journey, is promising, but its repetition and slow progression hinders its enjoyability. The visual quality of Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt is impressive. Kids will see periodic live action scenes featuring characters who provide instructions and an ongoing narrative. There's also some interactivity when mud dramatically splashes off a helmet, bird figurine, or other items to reveal their original grandeur as you clean them by swiping your finger on the screen. Players can swivel the items to scrub all sides, and a meter shows how clean an object is, marking kids' progress and encouraging them to be thorough.

Unfortunately, the interactive elements are fairly repetitive. Aside from watching occasional videos, kids basically just clean a succession of objects, using the same motions, which are boring. The items also aren't always unique. Kids may clean the same item repeatedly, making the work time consuming, unless kids earn enough gems to purchase a wider brush (and earning gems can take some time). After restoring some items, players will need to sell at least one to make room for more, but this is a simplistic process. You earn coins, which can't be spent on anything, and these are earned at a faster rate than gems, which are much more useful. Why this happens is never explained. Worse, the app will eventually run out of time, and kids then have to wait, watch an ad, or use gems -- they'll likely need to buy more to have enough -- to continue, which slows the pace down further. Between those delays and the slow overall progression speed, kids may not be all that eager to keep continuing the game. They don't, after all, get to participate in or even see the actual dives that are conducted to find items; they just get to clean them. The app may be called Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt, but kids who play it will end up doing more tidying up, though, than actual treasuring hunting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kids need to do to complete tasks in Mystery Coast: Treasure Hunt. What skills do they have to use to finish cleaning items found during dives?

  • Is there a certain era of history that interests your child? What kind of historical artifacts might still be in existence from that time period?

  •  

  • What are some of the best places to find information on historical events? Where can you find informational resources that are available online to help your child research an event?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

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