2015 will be the year of the dinosaur with the release of Jurassic World coming later this year and Kuato Studios are quick of the mark with this fantastic app which sees children play as one of six customisable baby dinosaurs.
Only available from today and only on iOS. Dino Tales gives players the opportunity to explore an island full of prehistoric plants and wildlife.
You start the game with one baby dinosaur and as you play you find others.
The main screen features a few important areas, the controller in the bottom left allows you to move your dinosaur. This did seemed a little troublesome to begin with as the girls are right handed but they soon got the hang of the controls. In the bottom right you can access the Berry Blaster, Awards, Treasures and Tricks as well as ask your friend Darwin some questions.
Now this area is where the girls have had lots of fun. You can collect berries from the trees around you which then fill up the berry blaster. You can then turn your dinos into a different colour. You can also add a pattern in one of four colours and even change how big the pattern is using the slider. If you are not happy just touch the soap to start all over again.
As you go through the adventures you collect a variety of awards for collecting things, playing games, looking after your dino and more. The girls have loved getting new awards and they feel a real sense of achievement with each one they have collected.
As you wander around the world you will find different fossils and minerals. In this section you can view all of the items you have collected as well as learn more about them.
By touching the hand symbol you will be shown how to make your dino perform tricks. Elizabeth really enjoyed this although Alison did not seem to bothered. The app shows you which movement to make and when you copy it the dino will perform the trick.
In the top right of the screen is the map. This was really helpful when it comes to finding out where all the eggs were as they are indicated with a dotted circle.
Once you had found a nest with an egg inside you get taken to this screen where you have to tap on the egg to hatch the dino. Once hatched you get the chance to rename the dino and choose if it will be a girl or a boy. I think this is a great feature as Alison only wants boy dinosaurs and Elizabeth only wants girl dinosaurs. You can also change these settings at the beginning so if Alison played last as a boy Elizabeth can change it to a girl and therefore they are both happy. They also really enjoy thinking of names for their dinos and it is interesting to see the ones they come up with.
The final item on the screen (apart from the home button) is Darwin. Darwin is your friend and guide. Using the intuitive word wheels you can ask Darwin a variety of who, what, when, where, why,how and which questions about all sorts of dinosaurs. Or you can ask him about poop. I love the praise that the child is given when asking a question. If your child is really into dinosaurs they could spend ages just asking a variety of questions about what dinosaurs eat what, which was the biggest, smallest, fastest there are so many questions that even the most inquisitive of child would be kept happy.
Each time you start a game you are given a suggested adventure such as go bowling, investigate scary cave or find fossils. These help to shape your story but I decided to ignore the suggestion and carried on with exploring. This was absolutely fine and although my tale I created that day stated at the beginning that I was off to the waterfall at the end it said that although I didnt find the waterfall they will be there for another day.
In fact the whole point of this app is to create your very own dino tales. Tales that can be read by the parents to the child or that only children can read themselves. The tales tell the story of what you did in that session and include eating, drinking, visiting the berry blaster, finding fossils and any of the other adventures you took part in.
When you are thirsty, hungry or tired a symbol appears above your head and you can press the symbol for footprints to appear to lead you to your nearest source of water, food or a nest.
When your adventure has finished it is time to read your tale.
You can select from all your previous tales and you can see which dinosaur took part in which tale which is brilliant.
One thing I really liked was the ability to change some of the words. On some pages you will see orange highlighted words as below. When you touch them you are given a few other words that you can use in its place. It really helps to personalise the tales.
On th every first screen you can access the parents area. This area is pin locked so it cant be accessed by children and allows you to set up email alerts, find out more about the game, change the childs profile details and most importantly chose the game play length. When we first started playing it was set to medium which frustrated Elizabeth as she was half way through something or exploring somewhere and all of a sudden it was time to go to bed but now I have changed it to 45 minutes she is able to accomplish what she needs to do without getting frustrated.
Designed for children aged 4-10, DINO TALES also features ‘Parent Corner’ a pin-secure area where adults can set reading age, length of play sessions and receive email notifications of their child’s latest ‘Tale’.
· Hatch 6 baby dinosaurs to play with and nurture
· Explore a huge and incredibly rich 3D world with caves, forests, rivers and an erupting volcano
· Use the ‘Word Wheels’ to ask Darwin, the talking dino any questions about dinosaurs
· Play fun games and activities including the musical boneyard, river rapids, boulder bowling, lava slides and much more
· Collect and learn about loads of different fossils and minerals
· Turn each tale into a Storybook to be personalised and shared with others
· Develop core skills including sentence construction, vocabulary, language and more
Available now for just £2.99 in the itunes app store this is a fantastic game that any dino lover of the right age will enjoy and the non dino lovers too. Both of my girls have surprised me with their enjoyment of this game as I expected it would be one for Alison and not Elizabeth. The collecting and customising elements to the game have had her hooked and they have not wanted to stop playing it since I downloaded it last week.
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