Takenoko

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Takenoko App Poster Image
Flawed, largely forgettable board game adaptation.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The game's rules are laid out for players, but not in a crystal clear fashion. That can cause confusion later on. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know Takenoko is an electronic version of a popular board game for iOS and Android devices. Players attempt to accomplish tasks on game cards, while building a world that is inhabited by a hungry panda and a patient gardener. There's no objectionable content to be found in the game, but it does have some bugs which might frustrate players. 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?

In TAKENOKO, players attempt to complete tasks on objective cards. This is achieved through one of five actions on the game board: placing a tile, moving the panda or gardener, taking an irrigation channel, or drawing another objective card. The panda will eat bamboo when he moves to a tile, whereas the gardner will grow bamboo on tiles he inhabits, assuming it's irrigated. Players get two actions per turn and continue playing until one reaches the required number of objective cards (which varies by player). Players get points for each satisfied card, and the winner is the one with the most points. 

Is it any good?

If nothing else, this strategy title is a soothing game -- when it works. Takenokos calm music and gentle gameplay is the opposite of the rushed pace of so many other apps. The problem is: That gameplay isn't especially compelling. And, even if it was, the app's riddled with bugs and glitches, causing it to freeze for some players. And the game's tutorial is fair to middling, so there can be some confusion if you're not familiar with the original board game (though it does guide players somewhat during gameplay). The game becomes somewhat repititious after a few playings as well.

While it's loaded with impressive artwork and is nice to look at, Takenoko, ultimately, is a game that will quickly lose your interest. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about pandas and their habits. How much bamboo do they eat each day?

  • What do you know about China and its rich cultural heritage? Do you think Takenoko would make you interested in finding out more about the country?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Price: $4.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: November 19, 2019
  • Category: Board Games
  • Size: 49.00 MB
  • Publisher: Asmodee Digital
  • Version: 0.49
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires Android 4.4 and up; Requires iOS 7.0 or later
  • Last updated: June 3, 2020

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