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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Panda Picnic is a game whose animations and music make it seem very child oriented, but is loaded with gambling references and requires Facebook for any sort of meaningful play. Players spend virtual coins on a slot machine to find three fruits, which they must match with others at the top of the page -- and young children won't realize that when the coins are gone, they'll be steered to spend real-world money to buy extras. Additionally, the demand for players to log into Facebook to find opponents raises privacy concerns. The game may look like it's for kids, but parents should steer them away from it.
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Is it any good?
The match-three genre is a tired one, but you have to give the developers of PANDA PICNIC credit for finding a way to make it fun once again. By blending the random elements of a slot machine with the "match three of the same fruits" objective, and making it into a multiplayer experience, they've created something unique enough to turn heads.
The demand to log into Facebook, though, is very intrusive and for an app that simulates gambling, the app is very curiously (and obviously) tailored to children. From the music, to the graphics, to the name of the panda who sits at the top of the screen (Petey the Panda), it's a page out of the "how to appeal to children" handbook. Adults will have fun with it, but there are a lot of lurking bad lessons and habits for kids.