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Sky Whale

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Sky Whale App Poster Image
Quirky tween TV show promo produces amusing arcade game.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Game is a marketing tie-in with the Nickelodeon show Game Shakers and features commercials for the show.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sky Whale is a marketing tie-in for a Nickelodeon show, Game Shakers. The show is about two seventh-graders who make millions of dollars off an app they create; Sky Whale is that fictional app. Players can either try to keep their onscreen avatar aloft by bouncing off clouds and jumping a bit whenever it consumes a doughnut in the traditional game (which is modeled after several Web-based games with a similar theme). In AR mode, players hunt for onscreen objects in the real world around them using their phone or tablet's camera. In both modes, there's no objectionable content. It's pretty much all silly fun with the purpose of promoting the show, which is advertised periodically throughout the game. 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?

SKY WHALE is actually two different games in one. The first one is an endless runner of sorts, where players try to keep their narwhal airborne by bouncing it off of clouds. You can also give it a boost by using doughnuts that you collect while it soars through the air. Longer distances earn coins, which can be used to purchase power-ups to send it further down the path. This mode is based off of a game developed by characters in a Nickelodeon TV show. The second game, which is built to take advantage of newer devices, is the augmented reality mode, which uses a device's camera and tasks players to hunt for virtual objects in the real world. By walking through their living room, backyard, or anywhere they wander, players can collect hidden treasures and improve their virtual score.

Is it any good?

Augmented reality is still a rare feature in most apps, much less done well, but tacking it onto an established game makes this a fun experience for kids. Sky Whale take a simple concept, the treasure hunt, and makes it engaging using a phone or tablet's camera and the player's imagination. The game's not especially challenging, and grown ups will tire of it quickly. But kids will enjoy exploring the real world physical space to improve their game score. It's a blending of the real and virtual worlds that's done in an approachable fashion with some of the newest technology around.

The other game mode is a seemingly random mix of characters and features that ironically pokes fun at the addictively popular (and financially lucrative) mega-hit apps, but it's really a well-calculated marketing tactic. Kids will love it despite its one-note gameplay and their minimal control over success. It's silly fun that'll entertain kids long enough to introduce them repeatedly to the new Nickelodeon show based on the very app that made a couple of teenagers millionaires. In this case, though, it's the network that hits the jackpot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kind of game they'd design. How would it work? What would be the objective? What kinds of characters would be involved?

  • Talk to kids about the marketing complexities of a television show about an app created by the kids being cross-marketed with the actual app. Since it wasn't really designed by kids, ask if the features included are things kids would include (junk food, toilets, and such) and why.

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love endless runners and arcade games

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