It’s looking to be a great holiday season this year, with many big name developers releasing new apps simultaneously. In fact, today we’re getting a new app from both Toca Boca and Sago Sago. We’ll have a review for Toca Lab later today, but for now I’m going to share with you about Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer.
The newest addition to Sago Sago’s line of apps for young kids, Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer takes kids on an oceanic exploration together with Fins the fish. Along the way they will uncover hidden surprises, and be invited to use their imagination and decide what to make of their adventure.
Beyond the Sea
Ocean Swimmer begins just outside Fins’ tiny underwater castle. Fins is inside, so kids must invite him out by sounding the horn. They can then guide the little fish around the ocean by dragging or by tapping anywhere on the screen.
The adventure involves more than 30 fun animations/mini activities such as listening to a singing sea monster, attending a surprise underwater birthday party, and roleplaying at a sunken pirate ship. These activities are indicated by yellow dots which appear as Fins swims near.
As an open-ended app, Ocean Swimmer offers several types of activities. Some invite kids to interact further, for example tapping on a group of singing clams to create a tune. However most activities let kids sit back and just enjoy Fins’ silly antics.
Parents Need to Know
Ocean Swimmer offers open-ended play, which means kids decide what to do in the app. They can, for example, make up a story as they explore the app, or just enjoy swimming around and try to discover all the hidden things. All of the activities are optional so kids can skip the ones they don’t want to play, and visit them in any order.
An interesting bit about Ocean Swimmer is that it features a big cast of characters, including recurring ones in the Sago Mini universe (Robin, Jinja, and Harvey from Sago Mini Pet Cafe) and new additions such as a sea monster, an octopus ice cream vendor, and a group of music-playing grumpy fishes. Interestingly the characters have diverse appearances and emotions, which add more depth to the gameplay.
Like all Sago Sago apps, Ocean Swimmer is toddler-centric and best used with kids ages 2–4. Included in the app is a letter from the designer which discloses in details the concept behind the app and suggests ways for parents to create a richer learning experience. The app has no ads and no in-app purchases.
Things I Like
Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer is a beautifully simple app with a lot of depth. There is a lot to explore in the app; you could swim up, down, left, or right and there will always be something to discover.
For example, I was thoroughly surprised when I found that the anemones are connected. If you let Fins go near one, it will swallow him and spit him out in another part of the ocean -- sort of like the underground pipes in Super Mario Bros.
There are also the details that I like, such as being able to lead Fins to the surface of the water and tap on the sky to make him flip in the air. Some animations also play a bit differently when you come back to them, for example Jinja will throw a different food every time Fins swim to her boat.
Despite having so many activities to explore, Ocean Swimmer doesn’t let you get lost. The world loops seamlessly, so if you go right or left endlessly you will end up back at Fins’ castle. This means there is little chance for kids to miss out on an activity.
Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer is a wonderful open-ended app that encourages juniors to explore a magical ocean with the help of an adorable character. The app provides more than 30 mini activities, but leaves the storytelling part to the players. It is beautifully simple, so young kids should be able to play without any problems.
App was provided for our honest review.