The Oregon Trail: American Settler

App review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
The Oregon Trail: American Settler App Poster Image
Frontier building sim a fun, entertainment-focused sequel.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn a little bit about what life was like living as a pioneer family on the American frontier in the 1800s -- including themes of teamwork and self-sufficiency -- by participating in this farming and building sim. The Oregon Trail: American Settler contains some interesting historical facts about frontier life, and there is an emphasis on the social interactions between Facebook friends. Unlike the original Oregon Trail titles, the American Settler sim offers kids limited opportunities for learning.

Ease of Play

The controls are menu-driven and intuitive, and make great use of the touch screen.


Animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and bears will randomly appear and can be shot for food, but there is no blood. When killed, the animals disappear and turn into drumsticks of meat. Players can choose to simply let the animals run away, too.


The main menu includes links to Twitter and Facebook, and an offer to earn free game currency by watching a promotional ad. Players are prompted to review the game in the app store. The game is free but players can speed up gameplay and unlock special items by using a premium currency paid for with real money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Oregon Trail: American Settler, a follow-up to The Oregon Trail, is a city- building sim that depicts pioneer life in the 1800s. It takes place after the family has completed its treacherous journey and arrived in Oregon ready to settle down. Players can shoot animals for extra food, but there is no blood and participation in the mini-game is optional. The game is free to play, but players can speed up the game and purchase exclusive items by paying real cash. The Gameloft Live! opt-in feature allows players to connect to strangers, including the ability to text chat online with others.

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What's it about?

The Oregon Trail: American Settler offers an experience similar to social games like FrontierVille. In this simulation game, players create a frontier homestead by adding buildings, tending crops and animals, and maintaining settlers' happiness. Players can join Gameloft's social network, Gameloft Live!, to recruit neighbors and share status updates.

Is it any good?

THE OREGON TRAIL: AMERICAN SETTLER is far removed from both the original educational classroom PC simulation of the 1970s, and the Oregon Trail app. Instead, it bears a striking resemblance to the social game FrontierVille, complete with prompts to invite friends to the Gameloft Live! social network to become neighbors, buy the game's premium currency, and share status updates. The game is polished and enjoyable, but is much more designed for pure entertainment rather than edutainment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Learn more about some of the historical figures players meet in the tavern. What role did they play in American history and frontier life?

  • Take your kids to a visit a pioneer village or watch a historical reenactment. You can find pioneer reenactments on YouTube!

App details

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