Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure Game Poster Image
Logic game provides simple yet limited intro to programming.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn problem-solving, logic, and reasoning skills as they create simple programming sequences to guide a ship to its destination. Kids lack total freedom over the sequences they create, since they're limited by having to select certain stones per turn. Holi and Oli: Viking Adventure is a rudimentary introduction to programming that holds kids back by limiting their choices.

Positive Messages

The game promotes an adventurous spirit of discovery for kids as they explore the world.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The siblings gently tease each other but are generally positive. They "borrow" their uncle's boat without asking to go on their adventure.

Ease of Play

The game is easy to master, but there's some vagueness about what some of the programming stones do. 

Violence & Scariness

What 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.

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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.

Talk to your kids 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?

Game details

  • Platforms: LeapFrog games
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, strategy
  • Price: $12.50
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: LeapFrog
  • Release date: February 28, 2014
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: NR
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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