What parents need to know
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
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- solving puzzles
- making new creations
- producing new content
Engagement, Approach, Support
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.
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.
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'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?
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.