Treasures of the Serengeti

Common Sense Media says

Fun, fascinatingly different puzzle game set in Africa.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The tribe in the game believes strongly in the power of music. The protagonist is a tribal shaman and she works to dispell her people's belief that their village is cursed.

Positive role models

The young female shaman who is the hero of the game's story is portrayed as a strong, capable leader. She works hard to rebuild her village after it is destroyed in an elephant stampede and to convince her people to move back to their homeland which they believed to be cursed.

Ease of play

The game is deceptively simple at first, with early levels that are almost impossible to fail. But as the game progresses, you realize how tricky and challenging it can be. The gameplay is easy to pick up and always makes sense, but can get quite difficult in later levels. There are 80 levels, though, so you have plenty of time to get the knack of the game before it grows too challenging.

Violence

There is a verbal mention of elephant stampedes destroying an African village, but no visual depiction.

Sex

The plot contains a love story between a female shaman and a young man from her village. There is drama in the relationship, and rumors that the man married a girl from another village, but nothing inappropriate happens. The female protagonist also has visible bare midriff, but in the context of traditional African dress.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Previews and demos of other E-rated games from the same publisher are included.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this unique and innovative puzzle game is framed by a story that includes some elements of African tribal shamanism, violent destruction caused by elephants stampeding, and romantic drama. It is all very mild, though, and none of the destruction is depicted on screen. Even in the aftermath of the elephant stampede, the village is only shown as an empty grassland -- there are no debris, rubble, or ruins. Parents should also be aware that the main puzzle elements of the game are intermixed with equally unique music and sound-based mini-games.

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What's it about?

At its heart, TREASURES OF THE SERENGETI is a puzzle game in which players must connect color-coded, jigsaw-cut pieces in a moving gameboard, but there is a storyline framing the puzzle action. It revolves around an African village which is destroyed by an elephant stampede and then abandoned by its people who believe it to be cursed. A young female shaman is the only one who wants to restore her home and bring back her people. As she tries to do so (by collecting gems in the puzzle games), she also deals with some romantic drama as the man she loves has also left the village and is rumored to have married another woman. The shaman also reconstructs the tribe's sacred musical instruments through some very original audio-based mini-games.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There are innumerable puzzle games out there, but Treasures of the Serengeti shines among them by offering a completely new and different kind of matching game. What at first seems very simple (connect interlocking jigsaw-type pieces of matching color) ends up requiring a lot of strategic thinking and very fast fingers. The three types of mini-games, which are used to break up the action and add a bit of variety, are also mostly original as well (with the exception of a fit-the-pieces-together building game). One is a seemingly typical memory match game -- until you realize you have to match sounds, not images. And another requires you to tune instrument strings in order to play a demonstrated tune. The framing story sequences can seem a bit disjointed at times, but they're not really necessary to even sit through. With or without the layered-on plot, Serengeti is a stellar puzzle game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the real power of music. The tribe in the game will not return to their village until all their sacred instruments have been restored. Can you understand why music would be so important to a people? How important is music to your life?

  • Also, the sacred instruments in the game are all real types of African instruments. Have you even seen or heard instruments like these before? What is the value of learning about the music of different cultures? Or learning about different cultures in general?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:THQ
Release date:January 12, 2010
Genre:Puzzle
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Windows)

This review of Treasures of the Serengeti was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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