A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: animals
- Price: $3.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: November 17, 2016
- Category: Education
- Topics: Adventures, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature
- Size: 971.00 MB
- Publisher: Night & Day Studios, Inc.
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.