A Quest to Save Neverland
Jake's Treasure Trek is a coin-collecting, perpetual motion, side-scroller (think Mario with better graphics) based on the Disney Junior TV show Jake and the Never Land Pirates. A few animated scenes set the stage: Peter Pan has asked Jake to find Tinkerbell's lantern and save Neverland! To reach the lantern, Jake must pass through three themed islands, each with 15 levels. The goal of each level is for Jake has to collect enough coins to earn at least one out of three stars, while also moving quickly enough to finish the level ahead of Captain Hook. You'll help Jake by deciding which path is best and tapping to jump to avoid obstacles and gather coins as he charges across jungles, islands, and volcanoes.
See Jake Run. Make Jake Jump.
Since Jake keeps dashing forward toward the end of the level, the player mostly focuses on tapping the screen to make Jake jump. Timing is important, as kids help Jake double-jump, collect power-ups, catch and let go of zip lines, swim, and occasionally even fly. And with each level being timed, messing up can cause you to lose to the infamous Captain Hook, who will float by you if you fall down too many times. If you do lose, you must replay the level. The new aspects of the game are introduced in fleeting diagrams as the levels become more difficult; for more detail, you can check the settings for simple written instructions.
At first, Jake's Treasure Trek is entertaining -- the fun backdrops, zippy music, and silly sayings will have kids whooping along with Jake as they speed through Neverland. However, while the 45 levels do become harder, there is surprising lack of variety in what the player has to do to win. Parents should know that the parental gate on the opening page (which hides Disney advertising and access to the internet and email) is pretty easy for reading kids; and that the total size of the app, once the levels are downloaded, is around 215 MB.
Creativity will come either when kids lose and have to problem-solve which choices to make differently -- whether to take the first zip line or the second -- or when they are replaying levels trying to collect all three stars. Otherwise, Jake's default forward movement and the timed element of the levels both discourage exploring the levels and trying different approaches.
The short sayings during the game become more interesting if kids lose, when they'll find encouragement and pirate-themed positivity. The rest of the time, the sayings -- and the scenes of the interspersed story -- seem rather arbitrary and unrelated to how you're actually doing. We like how Jake's friends Izzy and Cubby talk about how they can help him, and fans of the TV show will certainly appreciate their cameos.
Here's the bottom line: Jake's Treasure Trek is an average action-platformer that lets kids use fine motor skills and quick decision-making as they decide when and where Jake jumps. While it introduces some new elements, the overall experience feels repetitive.
Fans of the TV show will enjoy finding ways to beat Captain Hook to the end of the level. Kids who don't mind replaying a level several times in order to explore the nooks and crannies through trial and error can also get some enjoyment out of this game. Note that the final levels move rather quickly, so they're not for kids who are easily discouraged.
This Jake's Treasure Trek app review was written by Liz K. McKinney.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.