What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that TheBlu is an ocean-exploring screensaver and social game wherein kids can learn about many kinds of underwater creatures, plants, and habitats. Each creature kids encounter provides some interesting biological and ecological information, but the constant plea for in-game purchases and Facebook connections are intrusive. There's also not a lot to do other than swim around. Since it's designed as a social experience, kids will see objects during play that are owned by other random players, and each player's city and state is shared.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
Thinking & Reasoning
Engagement, Approach, Support
The great visuals and premise seem engaging initially; however, the lack of player control, input, or choice beyond buying new creatures leaves much to be desired.
With interesting but brief bits of information, there is some learning to be had. However, with no context or reinforcement, kids must dig deep to learn a lot.
TheBlu is not intuitive, and almost no directions are given. Most of the support helps users make purchases.
What's it about?
THEBLU was created to educate kids about ocean ecosystems and their inhabitants. Kids explore different ocean zones and click on fish and plants they find there to learn more about them. While kids explore the wider ocean, they also curate their own personal habitat and can add fish to this special zone; these other fish are owned by players and display players' usernames and geographic locations. When the screensaver mode is enabled, kids can watch fish move around their habitats.
Is it any good?
This game isn't so much a game as a screensaver, and it's very basic. There's very little to do beyond observe and read a bit about fish, and many options rely on a Facebook connection. Although the art is high-quality, it's still tough to justify the cost of purchasing more fish. Players can get away without purchasing anything, but the invasive, repeated Facebook requests and reminders about buying new fish are off-putting.
Families can talk about...
Families can discuss how to spend digital currency wisely.
Families also can discuss the problems facing the ocean and how TheBlu tries to help tackle these problems.
Families can explore a local aquarium and try to identify fish and creatures from TheBlu.