Parents' Guide to

Lifeboat to Mars

By Jinny Gudmundsen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Free online ecosystem game makes learning biology fun.

Game Mac , Windows 2010
Lifeboat to Mars Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

kids games

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Lifeboat to Mars is a great biology game because it lets kids learn by trial and error. Each of the 48 simulation scenarios set forth clear learning objectives and goals, and then provides the means to accomplish the goals. The key to making a good simulation for kids is to find the balance between making the achievement too easy and making it too hard. For the most part, Lifeboat to Mars finds that sweet spot; however, several of the simulations will take several tries before success is achieved. This is particularly true with the Microbe games.

Another exciting aspect of this free online game is the ability to create your own simulations to share with others. After working through the starter games and playing a few of the other more sophisticated scenarios, a new area opens up called "Modding." In the Modding sections for both Microbes and Ecoland, you can design your own scenarios. You can establish the goal of the scenario, and how hard it is to win, and then upload it to the game's servers for others to play.

For teachers wanting to incorporate this game into their science curriculum, a teacher's guide will be available on the PBS Kids Go website.

Online interaction: This game supports "Modding" where you can design and upload your own ecosystem scenarios for others to try. You can also try others created by unknown players.

Game Details

  • Platforms: Mac , Windows
  • Subjects: Science : animals, biology, ecosystems and the environment, Language & Reading : following directions, reading comprehension
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning : analyzing evidence, applying information, decision-making, Tech Skills : digital creation, Self-Direction : achieving goals, motivation, Creativity : making new creations, producing new content
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Available online?: Available online
  • Publisher: PBS Kids Go
  • Release date: January 13, 2010
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: NR
  • Last updated: November 6, 2017

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