Version Reviewed: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Sailing Home - Learn Animal Habitats, as the name may describe, allows preschool children the chance to learn about animal habitats along with other facts about different wild animals. Here, after a zoo closes for vacation, children are able to help sail around the world depositing animals in the correct continent or area of the globe in which they live - such as dropping a kangaroo off in Australia, a camel to Africa, or a Toucan to Central America. This app is intuitive for the young and includes encouraging spoken instructions that adults and children will enjoy listening to.
I admire this app’s style for the way in which the horizon and rolling waves are featured, as with the sounds of the sea and the fun, calming, yet upbeat music. Animals are displayed within the ship that is taking these creatures home and a tap will introduce the player to each character complete with some very interesting information that is expertly narrated by the ship’s captain and is truly top-notch. Children and adults will find the soothing descriptions relaxing and informative, also including an image of the habitat of each animal that one can use to match against the included map, which allows children to choose a destination and then drop off the correct animal. They may also snap a picture to remember each creature that is to be saved in the photo book to look back at later.
I have seen quite a few apps dedicated to teaching about habitats, but few have been as appealing as Sailing Home. The look of this app is delightful and quite stylized. The animals here are slightly cartoony yet with enough realism to keep things educational. Animals touched upon here include the African fennec, the world's smallest carnivore that many children will not be familiar with, as well as favorites such as pandas and brown bears.
A tap of each animal will trigger some friendly movements and animal noises as well as a few anthropomorphic sighs and laughs to show appreciation for all the players' help in sending them home, creating more interactive moments without any distracting bells or whistles. The photos one takes after bringing each animal home are in the cropping that the user chooses while manning the camera, allowing children to experiment here as well. The game is over after three animals are sent home, but it can easily be played again with a ship full of new characters in need.
Although I don’t know how many creatures this app includes, I certainly have seen many different faces - each with a lot of information to listen to and absorb, such as the dark skin and transparent hair of the polar bear - instead of white - as commonly thought. In bitterly cold weather they sleep with a paw over their nose - a detail that really make me smile. I also admire the role-playing aspect, as the short scene that opens this app creates a sense of being the ship’s right hand as one looks over the shoulder of the captain, and the player has the task of choosing where to sail and which animals to bring home and when. This allows children to feel helpful and kind to these beasts, making Sailing Home an app that I can easily recommend for toddlers and those in preschool.