App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Octonauts App Poster Image
Beautiful underwater adventure sinks more than swims.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can potentially learn a bit about 25 sea animals. Through 3D graphics, kids can explore what the animals look like and learn their names. With the help of a grown-up, kids can also hear a few informational tidbits about the animals.

Ease of Play

Navigating the "GUP" through the sea is not always easy for young kids with developing fine motor skills. It's also often unclear what kids are supposed to do.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

A small icon on the home screen leads to ads for other apps from the same developer. A simple parent gate protects actual purchase. The app itself is also part of the Octonauts brand and promotes the TV series and related products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Octonauts features the characters and theme from the TV series of the same name. Kids choose a submarine and guide it around underwater, meeting sea creatures and playing simple games along the way. There are some aspects that may make gameplay challenging for young kids. For instance, users need to be very precise when navigating their underwater vessel, which requires pretty strong fine motor skills. Also, each sea animal has a "Creature Card" with information about the animal in written text only, so prereaders will need help. Load times between scenes can be a bit long, which may frustrate some kids. Familiarity with TV series is not necessary, but given the app's limited offerings, it seems like the main draw. Octonauts works only on more recent devices, so make sure that yours is on the compatible list before purchase. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJoseph T. February 13, 2017

Little more than a cash grab

Like the toys of the same franchise, this product feels like a shameless cash grab. Underdeveloped and without any real relation to the show. Completely without... Continue reading

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What's it about?

Explore sea life with the crew from OCTONAUTS. Choose from five "gups" (underwater sea vessels) to drag through the sea. Navigate over certain spots to play games such as feeding dolphins, or discover missions such as finding and taking a picture of a whale shark or racing a sailfish. Find as many different sea creatures as you can to collect Creature Cards, which feature a 3D image of the creature with some information tidbits that kids or parents must read, as there's no read-aloud feature.

Is it any good?

Though the graphics are absolutely fabulous, what kids are able to do and learn isn't nearly as impressive. The graphics are deeply rich representations of sea life and a pleasure to explore. It's also really cool that they can rotate the animals to get a "3D" look at them on their Creature Cards. What's heartbreaking for fans of the show is that almost everything else about the Octonauts app is a big disappointment. Instructions for what kids are supposed to do in the "missions" are very subtle and will likely fly right over their heads. Navigation is awkward sometimes, and it can be difficult to drag your "Gup" where you want it to be. Though Creature Cards are neat and have a couple interesting tidbits, there's no audio that reads the information aloud, which seems like a huge oversight for an app deigned for the prereader set. Also, while the TV show makes a point to give the cartoon animals as many realistic characteristics as possible, the app's "games" are too simple and not at all based in scientific fact. For example, one game involves giving dolphins food, but the food looks like fish-shaped crackers (the feeding even comes complete with a crunch sound), and after throwing out two, the game is over and kids get lots of applause from two Octonauts characters. Perhaps with a smaller or less complex environment, more depth, additional variety, and more accessible learning, little kids could learn as much from the app as they do from the show. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the underwater sea creatures kids find in Octonauts. Help them read the information on the Creature Cards, and encourage them to rotate the animals for a detailed look.

  • Take out books from the library or watch kid-friendly documentaries to explore the ocean and the mysteries deep within.

  • Talk to your kids about how what we do on land can affect the ocean's health. Help them learn about taking care of the planet to protect life in the sea.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals and science

Themes & Topics

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