A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about dozens of different animals and plants as they explore six habitats from the Amazon rainforest to the Rocky Mountains. Players can pick up new vocabulary as they learn the names of exotic species, and a handful of foreign words like "rafiki," the Swahili word for "friend." The story also touches on themes of exploration, geography, global awareness, and cultural understanding. Cooperation is encouraged between players in order to build habitats and acquire key items. Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers wraps a positive message of environmental stewardship in a fun zoo sim.
The game's theme is animal habitat conservation. The story incorporates themes like poaching and deforestation in a way that isn't too heavy-handed.
Positive Role Models
The player is part of a team that includes scientists and wildlife experts who are all passionate about wildlife conservation.
Ease of Play
The game is easy to learn and play. Hidden object scenes offer unlimited hints, and players can switch to full-screen mode to make objects easier to see.
Products & Purchases
The game is a tie-in to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, located at the Walt Disney World resort. The game sells a premium currency that is used to speed up the game and unlock exclusive scenes and items. Players are constantly prompted to post updates to their Facebook walls (which helps Playdom to market the game).
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers is a Facebook social game that combines hidden object and zoo sim gameplay, and contains positive messages of animal conservation and environmental awareness. The game is free to play, but players can spend real-world cash on premium currency to speed up the game and unlock exclusive scenes and items. Friends are required to help complete certain quests and habitats, which may tempt players to "friend" strangers on Facebook. This game could appeal to kids as young as 8 -- especially given the Disney connection -- however, they will not be able to play it since Facebook has an age gate of 13.
Is It Any Good?
It's a shame that Facebook's 13-year-old age gate prevents younger players from enjoying Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers, because it's both fun and educational. Players are introduced to a variety of exotic wildlife -- and even if you don't know what a "kinkajou" is, you can click on a hint to see a picture and a brief description. The story is a strong point, featuring a diverse cast of characters and plot twists that tackle serious issues like poaching and deforestation. (Unfortunately, if you want to see how each episode resolves, you'll have to pay to unlock the final scene in each chapter.) Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers boasts polished production values, too, with graphics and sounds that bring both the hidden object scenes and the animal habitats to life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.