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Pepi Tree Lite

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Pepi Tree Lite App Poster Image
Tree-dwelling mini-games are cute but not top notch.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a bit about some animals that live in or around trees. Though kids might not pick up on all of the learning content, some of it involves what animals eat, what special characteristics they have, or how they grow. When parents play with kids, they can learn more, as well as other information not included in the app such as the names of the animals.

Ease of Play

Simple games rely on clear-cut tapping and swiping.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A small icon on the home screen advertises other apps from the same developer; a math-based parent gate blocks access to purchase. The lite version includes only half the games; the other half are visible but not actionable. A prominently displayed icon invites users to purchase the full version.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pepi Tree Lite is the free version of a simple game in which young kids can interact with a handful of animals that live in or around trees. Kids find each animal in a different section of the tree, and can tap on it to play a mini-game. Three of the six games are available with this free download, and the other three remain locked. An icon invites users to buy the full version through an in-app purchase of $2.99. Parents can also access the full version, called Pepi Tree, directly from the App Store, Google Play Store, or Amazon. A parent's section offers a short description of each of the mini-games. A small Facebook icon on the home screen connects users to the developer's Facebook page though they have to solve a math problem to get past the parent gate. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Tap the play button to get started with PEPI TREE LITE. Then scroll up and down or tap the up and down arrows on the right side of the screen. Kids can find six different animals -- a caterpillar, an owl, a mole, and more -- in different sections of the tree. Tap on the animal to play a mini-game. For example, feed the squirrels, help the spider spin a web, or look for other animals with the owl's night vision. Three of the six games are available with the free version.

Is it any good?

Mini-games set in a tree habitat introduce kids to a handful of tree-dwelling animals on a very basic level. The games are simple, which make them easily accessible for young kids. But, they feel too superficial and actually end up missing the mark on any kind of meaningful learning. It would be nice to see more complex scaffolding around learning about these animals and their habitat. There are also a few things that make Pepi Tree Lite feel a bit off-putting. For example, though the graphics are mostly appealing, there are some images that seem odd (take the app icon's open-mouthed fox as an example). The audio track similarly has some moments where the noises just seem like strange choices. Also, though the app sells itself as being an educational look at animals in their natural habitats, moles are not known for using keys to get into their underground houses. In-app navigation and controls are not fully thought out: There's no option to turn off the music or sound effects, and there's no way return to the home screen other than closing down the app. Finally, the lite version is a nice option for giving parents and kids a good sense of what the game is like, and the locked portions are more subtle than in some other similar apps. But it does leave half the game inaccessible, which is pretty enticing for little kids, regardless of how much they really like the game. Parents should discuss the buying options before they hand Pepi Tree Lite over to their kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the animals featured in Pepi Tree Lite. Help your kids name each animal and talk about what it eats, where it lives, how it moves, what kinds of sounds it makes, and so on.

  • Go for a walk in your local park and be on the lookout for the animals and plants that live in and around the trees. Help your kids observe and describe what they see, hear, smell, and feel.

  • Talk to your kids about the purchasing model this app uses. What does it mean to be a "lite" version? Why do developers release an app that has some free content and some paid content? What are your family's policies for buying apps or making in-app purchases?   

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animals and science

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