Developer: MarcoPolo Learning
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Storytelling/Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Intuitiveness Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

MarcoPolo Ocean is a new educational app that, as the name may describe, helps young children explore the ocean. Five “Build-and-Play” activities are included where one constructs oceanic animals such as a Herring or Okra, a coral reef, as well as a ship and a submersible. A heavy use of puzzle elements is incorporated as deconstructed parts are dragged and dropped into a provided template, allowing children to build their oceanic choice in an interesting, sometimes layered approach that I enjoy; especially during the building of the included sea vessels.

5Narration is included that describes what pieces are being used to build with which I am fond of, but I do find it a little problematic that one can easily cut off the descriptions by moving the next piece of the puzzle into its corresponding space too soon. In the future I would like to see pieces withheld until the narration plays out, allowing children quick with these activities to hear all these nicely detailed facts about the ocean. Another section allows one to add different fish of one’s choosing to the ocean, with a tap of a finger triggering these fish to swim about. Do navigate to the ocean floor and note the changes as one ventures deeper into the ocean. As it gets darker, the sea life changes as does the music – from an upbeat almost calypso-inspired music to moodier, ambient sounds reminiscent to me of those of Humpback whales – an inclusion I would loved to have heard as well.

Children will find that there is a lot to explore within MarcoPolo Ocean, and I like how both the Herring is included as part of a school of fish and how marine mammals are represented nicely this section. Likewise, I enjoy being able to explore the working of the ship and a submersible, as a tap will allow the interaction of some important moving parts such as the engine or periscope. There is a fair share of random bobbing interactions however, which can lead to distraction – especially as one ventures deep to the darker regions of the ocean where the jellyfish, squid, and other creatures simply spin around with the tap of a finger instead of moving within the water the way nature intended.

6I also wish that there was more consistency with the narration of the varied parts when constructing during the “Build-and-Play” as not all areas of interest are narrated. Likewise, some elements found in the Reef section are not all labeled, including what I presume to be a kind of coral that I would have been interested in having identified as well as noted body parts of the XXXXX such as the eye, which is never acknowledged. Although not a unique part to aquatic animals, this can come across as an oversight or a glitch instead of an intentional choice.

Even with these notes, I have enjoyed reviewing MarcoPolo Ocean. The look of this app is quite colorful and I enjoy the realism seen in the fish and the other animals. I do wish more narrated facts could be included however, as these details would make the app a little special and certainly educational. I do hope more of these informative moments could be included in the future.


Posted in: Animals, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Education, Just For Fun, Parents and Kids, Preschool, Primary School, Puzzle, Reviews, Science, Toddlers

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