Sailing the Digital Seas
Tiny Pirates is a preschool discovery app that lets kids assemble a crew and then interact with the friendly pirates. In the "dress up" section, kids customize 13 pirates by selecting physical features, including skin color and hairstyle, and then dressing them up in different pirate clothing and gear. There are also two interactive scenes for kids to explore: a pirate ship sailing on the high seas, and a port town.
All Hands on Deck
In the create-a-pirate section, kids can customize each pirate crew member by browsing through different appearance options and tapping on the features they want. These customizations carry over into the scenes, giving kids a lot of control over what their crew looks like.
The two pirate scenes are quite dynamic. Kids tap and swipe to interact with people and objects and trigger fun animations and sound effects. For example, kids can load rocks into the ship's cargo hold to weigh it down, unfurl the sails to make the ship go faster, and tap an accordion-wielding pirate to hear him play a little ditty. They can also trigger a sequence to get the cook to make soup by touching a pirate to peel potatoes and toss them into a bucket. The bucket is then dragged to the cook. After a few seconds, the scene resets itself, allowing players to have a go at it all over again.
Full Steam Ahead
Tiny Pirates offers a lot of charming things to discover. Unlike some other dollhouse-style apps, kids don't get to place the characters into the scenes or move them around. Rather, kids tap on things and watch what happens. This digital pirate-themed playset is engaging… for a while, but it would have had more longevity if kids could have role-play their own stories too.
For younger kids, though, Tiny Pirates is great for demonstrating the concept of cause and effect, and encouraging curiosity and exploration. If kids aren't sure about what to do, a little hand briefly appears near points of interest and provides a hint about how to trigger an event.
Kudos to this developer for creating an app that encourages diversity by letting kids customize the appearance of their pirate crew -- both females and males.
There's a link on the homepage advertising other apps by this developer, but parents can disable this option within the app's "For Parents" section. The "For Parents" section is protected by a parental gate which asks the user to answer a multiplication question. Within the "For Parents" section, adults will find social media sharing options, newsletter signup, and extensive in-game instructions. Occasionally, upon opening the app, the app prompts users to rate the app in the app store.
For kids who get a kick out of watching reactions of characters on the screen, rather than interacting with static "doll-like" characters, Tiny Pirates
fits the bill. This app is also great for preschool players who are still developing their fine motor skills, as it's controlled mostly by simply tapping, rather than drag-and-drop or other more sophisticated movements.
If your kids like this kind of digital playset app, check out others found on our Digital Playset Apps
rec list.This kids' app review of Tiny Pirates was written by Erin Bell.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.