Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure is a strategy adventure game for the LeapPad Ultra, which is designed for kids age 5 to 9. It teaches basic logic and reasoning skills as a precursor to learning computer programming. There's no objectionable material to be found as the main characters -- Viking twins -- explore the world on a child-friendly adventure. This title isn't compatible with older LeapPad models.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
Engagement, Approach, Support
Players attempt to navigate their ship through obstacle-filled levels to get back home, which will hold attention for a while. However, there are limitations in the choice of programming commands and in the ability to see the entire level map, which doesn't help create the most efficient programs.
Although players need to use the whole map of a level, they can only see a small portion of it at a time, which makes it difficult to plot the most efficient route to the target.
Rules and goals are explained beforehand, but in-game support is somewhat limited.
What's it about?
Viking twins Holi and Oli borrow their uncle's ship and set out on a journey across the sea. Players help the twins navigate their ship through 18 obstacle-filled levels to get back home. Using the stylus, kids tap "programming stones" that represent directions for the ship to take (move forward two spaces, turn left, and so on), and string commands into a sequence for the ship to follow. Along the way, kids can stop to collect crates, go fishing, and trade with nearby ships to earn gold. The goal is to reach the destination in as few moves as possible while earning the most points.
Is it any good?
HOLI AND OLI: VIKING ADVENTURE would be more effective as a learning tool for computer programming if it didn't limit the choice of programming stones for each turn. The stones that are up for selection aren't always the ones players need, which can make them waste turns on inefficient movements. It also would be helpful if kids could see more of the grid at a time or zoom out to get an overview of the level so they aren't guessing about where to go next. Unfortunately, the limitations on the map add to the wasted moves, which could frustrate players further.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about programming -- such as the coding in Holi and Oli. Can you think of how to help kids understand sequences? Try writing out the steps to everyday chores such as washing dishes.
Should kids learn programming at an early age, or should they be older when they start learning code? What's the best way to do it?