Bermuda Triangle: Saving the Coral

Common Sense Media says

A match-three puzzler with a pleasant environmental theme.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The message here is twofold: coral reefs are in danger and matching like objects in groups of three can be fun. Nothing more complex than that.

Positive role models

Players take commands from Coralman, a superhero sort of fellow who tells them how to save the coral by supplying the nutrients it needs to grow. Note, though, that this is a puzzle game, and that its characters play a very minor role.

Ease of play

The goal of the game is simple, but the controls can be surprisingly frustrating for a simple match-three puzzler.

Violence & scariness

Players can drop anchors on snails to make them disappear and lob bombs into the puzzle that blow up and destroy pods.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bermuda Triangle: Saving the Coral is a match-three puzzler with a gentle environmental theme about helping coral reefs flourish while protecting them from human and environmental menaces. The content is completely innocuous; this game is safe for anyone old enough to understand how to play. That said, note that the interface is less than ideal, and could cause frustration in players of any age.

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What's it about?

BERMUDA TRIANGLE: SAVING THE CORAL is a puzzle game that has players captaining a boat with a canon that fires pods filled with nutrients that float on the ocean’s surface. The goal of the game is to carefully aim the canon so that similarly colored pods line up in groups of three, at which point they will disappear and shower growth nutrients on the coral below. If the pods stack down far enough and reach the ocean floor, it’s \"game over.\" Players can earn supporting items while playing to make their job easier, including anchors that will sink and make pesky coral-munching snails disappear, ocean waves that will clear the top line of pods, and bombs that release nutrients from the pods they destroy. There are three play modes: a story mode that has players sailing to locations around the coasts of four different islands, a timed mode, and an endless mode.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Bermuda Triangle is a good idea with middling execution. The basic match-three concept is solid. Popping pods onto a grid that grows from the top rather than the bottom is a modest but fun innovation, and the environmental theme, though mostly window-dressing, is pleasant. Plus, the power-ups, though neither diverse nor great in number, are useful and satisfying.

If only the controls didn’t put a damper on things. Firing pods into the ocean is simple enough. You can use the stylus to tap where you want them to land or select a spot with the d-pad. Both work, but the stylus is quicker and more efficient. Unfortunately, using the stylus makes selecting support items via the shoulder buttons tricky. It’s even harder to deploy them, which requires a tap of the X-button. Alternatively, you can call up a power-up menu at the bottom of the screen, but that takes more time and causes the player to lose track of what’s going on above. These aren’t deal-breaking issues, but they make it take a lot longer than it should to become comfortable playing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about using video games as a platform for environmental activism. Do you think that a game like this with a very simple message will have an impact on those who play? Did it make you want to learn more about coral reefs?

  • Families can also discuss ways in which the message could have been made clearer and stronger. What questions about coral reefs did the game fail to answer? How could they have been answered within the context of the game?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$14.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Storm City Games
Release date:February 19, 2010
Genre:Puzzle
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Bermuda Triangle: Saving the Coral was written by

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  • 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

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  • 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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