Video Game Review: 'Digging for Dinosaurs'
Filed under: Video Games
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that "Digging for Dinosaurs" is a fun and informative game that lets kids take on the role of both paleontologist and dinosaur. There are a few moments of violence, during games in which a dinosaur must fight for its food or protect its young from predators, but nothing is depicted in a realistic or graphic manner.
The good stuff
Ease of play: Everything from instructions to dinosaur facts is presented in both written and spoken forms. Some of the mini-games can actually be quite challenging, but there are three levels of difficulty on most of them.
Educational value: There is a ton of dinosaur-related information here, including some of the most recent scientific learnings about those prehistoric animals.
Messages: Interest in science (and paleontology specifically) is encouraged through play.
Role models: The game serves as a good role model in the way it encourages young kids to be interested in science, and the energetic, invigorating narration helps a lot in that respect.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: Some mini games involve dinosaurs fighting one another. In one, your dino will hit others to defend its eggs. In another, you will be a carnivore fighting against another aggressive dino. Damage to a dinosaur is depicted by a red "blast" icon appearing over the creature and a "health bar" depleting.
Sexy stuff: Not an issue.
Language: Not an issue.
Consumerism: Not an issue.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Not an issue.
What's the Story?
"Digging For Dinosaurs" starts off by putting kids in the shoes of a globe-trotting paleontologist. They can scroll a world map and choose where they want to dig for fossils (as long as they have enough points to enter that dig). Once they've used clever touchscreen controls to unearth a dino skeleton, they'll have access to that dinosaur's mini game. By playing mini games (like defending a nest against predators, flying between treetops, navigating a maze, hunting in the dark, or battling it out with another fierce carnivore) kids can earn more points that can be spent to access more digs. At the end, they can have a full dinosaur museum.
Is It Any Good?
Kids who love dinosaurs tend to REALLY love dinosaurs, and those kids will also love this game. "Digging for Dinosaurs" is a great package, with a very neat touchscreen method for unearthing fossils and reconstructing skeletons. It's got loads of interesting dino facts, includings some neat new tidbits that even your obsessive dino lover probably hasn't heard yet. And it's got a slew of exciting and challenging mini-games. The game is labeled as being for ages 5 to 8, but kids on the lower end of that range might have difficulty with some of the mini-games.
Reviewed by Christopher Healy.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.