Trucks and Skulls Nitro

Common Sense Media says

Fun, boisterous puzzle game in vein of Angry Birds.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Trucks and Skulls Nitro HD follows the tried-and-true formula of "easy to learn, hard to master." After giving you a series of very easy levels to conquer, the difficulty ramps up, keeping players engaged.

Violence

Semi tractor-trailers launch themselves off ramps to destroy grinning skulls and shatter wood, glass, metal, and other obstacles. Many levels are also packed with dynamite that creates tremendous onscreen explosions. When defeated, skulls disappear in an elaborate puff of smoke.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

The opening series of levels in the game are called "Hell's Highway."

Consumerism

Banner ads appear on virtually every menu screen and players can buy gold via in-app purchase to upgrade their trucks or unlock new ones.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Levels created by the player can't be shared through the app. They must be emailed by their creator to friends, then imported. It's an annoyance, but ensures children do not contact strangers through the iPad. Some privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party's Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender's email address. With iOS 5, players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Trucks and Skulls Nitro is a physics-based puzzle game that's based heavily on the formula that worked so well in Angry Birds. Kids fling trucks into the air in an attempt to destroy skulls and cause as much collateral damage as possible. It's a simple premise, but the game gets more and more complex as players advance. With well over 200 levels to figure out, the app offers plenty of value for any price. (That it's free is an added bonus.) Each truck has its own "personality" but all of them are loud and boisterous, and the game's background music has a heavy metal influence to it, though there are no lyrics for parents to worry about. It might sound inappropriate when laid out like that, but there's a cartoon vibe to the game that keeps it fairly light-hearted and comedic. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional. An iPad-only HD version is also available.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • gravity
  • momentum
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Similar to Angry Birds, but different enough that it remains enjoyable. Beating puzzles gives you a rush, losing makes you want to try again. The level creator encourages creativity. The game is, quite simply, fun. 

Learning Approach

The game explores the concepts of gravity, momentum, and trajectory in a high-octane environment. Additionally, kids will express their creativity by making their own levels, teaching them the limits of the laws of physics.

Support

Player-created levels can be emailed to friends, then imported into friends' apps. It's a burden, but ensures children do not contact strangers. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • gravity
  • momentum
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Kids can learn about gravity, momentum, and trajectory as they attempt to destroy skulls. Kids can also use momentum to make objects slam into each other and cause destructive chain reactions -- even more so if they hit a barrel of dynamite. Additionally, they'll get to explore their creative side by making their own levels. Trucks and Skulls Nitro offers a real-world physics lesson in an over-the-top trial-and-error action/puzzle game.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

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What's it about?

Kids drag and tap their finger on the screen to aim and launch trucks off a ramp to collapse -- and destroy -- structures and eliminate the skulls hidden within. By watching how the trucks move in flight, players can learn a bit about gravity and momentum. Players can retry levels as many times as necessary -- and can even build their own in the mapmaker. This is done by dragging objects on screen from a collection of items and choosing which trucks can be used. Players can share these maps with friends or the developer via email.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It would be easy to write off Trucks and Skulls HD as a clone of Angry Birds, but that would be doing this app a disservice. While the physics-based puzzles are in the same vein -- an enemy hides under wood, stone, and other obstacles that you destroy by flinging objects -- there's just enough of a difference that it remains enjoyable. The game is, quite simply, fun. Beating the puzzles gives players a rush, while losing only makes them want to try again (rather than frustrating them). The addition of a level creator is a nice touch that encourages creativity, but sharing the levels you create is a slightly difficult process. (You have to email them to friends, who then must upload them into the game.)

Families can talk about...

  • Encourage kids to create their own levels. Play the levels, and then talk about what works well and what could be done differently.

  • Allow kids to check out other apps that use concepts of physics similarly. Our list of Apps for Angry Birds Lovers is a great place to start.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:November 29, 2010
Category:Action Games
Size:68.40 MB
Publisher:Appy Entertainment
Version:2.2.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Trucks and Skulls Nitro was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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