SpriteBox Coding

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
SpriteBox Coding App Poster Image
Puzzle-based platformer teaches kids actual code.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn both coding logic and actual code as they work their way through this puzzle-filled journey. 

Ease of Play

A quick tutorial gets kids started and each new element has a brief animated introduction. There are no hints if kids get stuck on a puzzle, however, so they will just ned to keep experimenting until they figure it out. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SpriteBox Coding is an experience designed to take kids from using simple coding concepts to actual bits of code. The iOS version teaches Swift coding syntax and the Android teaches Java syntax. It's from the same publisher as LightBot: Programming Puzzles, a game intended to teach coding logic. The SpriteBox Coding game mimics popular platform-style games where kids collect stars and navigate a two-dimensional world, but the addition of coding puzzles adds a unique spin. There are no hints or in-game help, so kids may get stuck and/or frustrated unless they enjoy working through a challenge (and debugging broken code). Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

SPRITEBOX CODING brings kids on a journey to find all the parts necessary to build a spaceship. They begin by designing their avatar, choosing the gender, skin color, and clothing. Then they set off, collecting stars along the way. Kids will quickly hit a roadblock on their journey and will need to clear the way with help from Sprite, a robot. Sprite is happy to do some of the heavy lifting, but he needs clear instructions on what to do. Early on in the game, Sprite uses pictograms for coding, such as a boxing glove to punch, a foot to walk, and a spring to jump. As the journey progresses, the code gets more complex, adding in loops (and nested loops), functions, and procedures. Eventually the pictograms give way to text commands. By the end, kids are using actual code to complete the puzzles. There are 70 puzzles to solve, and they get increasingly complex. Along the path, kids meet various characters who need their help in exchange for the spaceship pieces.

Is it any good?

It's refreshing to see a fun coding app for kids that teaches actual code and not just logic concepts. SpriteBox Coding uses a format that Super Mario fans will find familiar and comfortable (platform gaming) but integrates a series of increasingly complex coding puzzles for them to work past. The only flaw is that there are no hints or help available, so kids who don't understand the newest concept/available code may get stuck. Solving the puzzles is challenging but can also be tedious on occasion, especially as the puzzles become more complex. While there's a storyline, it's not terribly deep, and kids will likely enjoy watching it unfold as they gather their spaceship parts. Ultimately, it's a creative introduction to actual coding and may serve as a platform for kids who want to know more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coding in SpriteBox Coding and in general. What is coding? What's it used for? Do you think it is something you would like to do as a career? Why or why not?

  • How do you like this app as compared with other apps you could play? If you had or have limited screen time, would you pick this app over other apps on your device? Why, or why not?

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For kids who love coding and STEM

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