Nemo's Reef

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Nemo's Reef App Poster Image
Ecosystem sim is visually vibrant but a bit shallow.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about coral reefs and the plants and animals that live there. Nemo's dad Marlin teaches him a variety of factoids about ocean life -- for example, how certain plants attract certain types of fish, which in turn create a healthy ecosystem. Kids will see how all the plants and animals work together in the reef, although there's not a lot of hard science here. Kids will need to save up pearls for special plants, so they can learn a bit about budgeting and working toward a goal. Nemo's Reef is a pleasant, if a bit shallow, journey into the vibrant underwater world.

Ease of Play

The game starts with a tutorial but occasionally has quests that may not be obvious to kids. Controls are easy to use.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This app is based on a popular Disney movie franchise, encourages in-app purchases, includes links to buy additional apps, and occasionally serves ads on start-up.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nemo's Reef is a simulation game wherein kids can build and maintain their own coral reefs. It includes and encourages in-app purchases but can be played without them (with a little patience). Many items require "pearls" for purchase; these can be earned slowly, as a bonus for playing several days in a row, or by caring for rare fish. The reef is lovely and colorful, plus Nemo's dad occasionally drops some real-life information about coral reefs and the ocean, but there's also a lot of waiting around for plants to grow.

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What's it about?

NEMO'S REEF invites kids to help Nemo and his dad Marlin grow their own reef, teeming with plants and sea creatures. Kids can build what they would like, so long as they have enough sand dollars, algae, or pearls, which can be earned by caring for their reef over time. They also can complete quests and homework assignments to earn rewards. As kids add more coral, plants, and stones, they'll attract new fish and sea life to the reef. Nemo is encouraged to add diversity to his reef and competes with a classmate to create the best reef. There's no end point to the game, so kids can continue to play until they tire of collecting resources or run out of new creatures to collect.

Is it any good?

Nemo's Reef is a fun idea that kids likely will enjoy for a while. It's exciting to have new sea creatures move into your reef and see how the reef grows and changes depending on your care. However, it's missing some substance in terms of both educational content and gameplay; eventually, kids will want to move on to games that have more to do than collecting resources and waiting. But, so long as you can fend off requests to buy pearls to speed up gameplay, it's a cute enough way to learn a bit more about coral reefs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Why do you need to plant different kinds of plants in a coral reef? What's the difference between a coral reef and, say, a tropical rainforest?

  • Nemo seems intent on competing with his friend from school for the best reef. What are some other reasons to build a great reef?

  • Talk about your family's rules around in-app purchases.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love the ocean

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