A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Jake and the Never Land Pirates is a math-oriented game featuring the characters from the television show of the same name. Despite the pirate theme, there is no violence and the only "weapon" is Jake's toy wooden sword, which is primarily a prop. There are four main activities, all geared at preschoolers, which increase in difficulty each time a child completes a level without error. Kids can find virtual treasure "prizes," such as a skateboard or guitar. Kids also collect gold coins to use to purchase micromods, which are game enhancements and add-ons that are downloaded via LeapFrog Connect. Parents can track their child's progress through the game via the LeapFrog Connect application.
What's it about?
LEAPFROG EXPLORER LEARNING GAME: JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES allows preschoolers to learn alongside friends Jake, Izzy, and Cubby. Each of the characters leads kids through a different math game. Izzy helps kids recognize numbers as they hop from stone to stone to get across the swamp. Cubby's game involves popping bubbles based on a specific instruction, such as choosing the largest bubble, or the one that is different. Jake asks kids to help rebuild a pirate ship by dragging the matching shapes into place. Each of these games gets harder when kids complete the level without error. The fourth game involves searching for treasure. Kids first must find a letter in a bottle, reconstruct a torn treasure map, and then set out looking for the treasure. Finding the treasure requires following directions, counting, recognizing colors, and other basic math skills. They'll earn gold coins and a virtual \"prize\" if they can complete the quest. In addition to the four mini-games in Jake and the Never Land Pirates, there are several screens with plenty of things to click and explore. One of them includes a stage with a variety of instruments that play when you touch them.
Is it any good?
LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Jake and the Never Land Pirates is a fantastic game for preschoolers. There is enough variety to keep them engaged, but not so much as to be overwhelming. The mini-games quickly level up and provide an ongoing challenge, but the progress is subtle enough that they probably won't notice. For example, one of the mini-games asks kids to follow the path of numbered stones. In early levels, the correctly numbered stones are surrounded by empty stones or letters making it easy for kids to distinguish. As they progress, the extra stones are covered with other numbers to add to the challenge. Unlike many of the LeapFrog games aimed at older audiences, there is no story to work through, allowing kids to focus on the screens and mini-games they most enjoy. They can try to collect all of the prizes, complete the badges, earn lots of coins, or just play around. The only flaw is that the treasure quest mini-game occasionally asks kids to identify objects that may be unfamiliar, such as a "sad Tiki head." Overall, this is an age-appropriate gem in the LeapFrog library and a wonderful introduction to the platform for younger kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: LeapFrog games
- Subjects: Math: counting, numbers, shapes
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: LeapFrog
- Release date: September 1, 2012
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Ocean Creatures, Pirates
- ESRB rating: NR
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.