Games aimed at pre-schoolers should be bright, fun, interactive and educational. Forestry, from Ingame, offers all of the above. Targeted at the 3-5 age group, Forestry features a bunch of beautifully illustrated mini-games to entertain and upskill your youngsters.
In Forestry, you control one of 6 cute animal friends — a brown bear, a moose, a rabbit, a beaver, a porcupine or a squirrel — each with several tasks to complete. With the bear, for example, you are tasked with searching and finding fruit in one scene, collecting honey in a different task and catching fish in yet another. All together there are 17 mini-games to play through and navigating between them is easy thanks to a beautiful panoramic interface (still Christmas-themed during my testing).
For each task, instructions are presented in the form of thought bubbles meaning the purpose of each task is presented visually, perfect for those not yet of reading age. Every level features truly beautiful artwork, amazing scenery and wonderful sound effects — you really feel immersed in the sights and sounds of nature.
There’s tons of interactivity per level, with background elements all being touch responsive even if not crucial to the aim of that particular mini-game. Characters, too, are full of just that — character — with each one having a unique personality.
Where the game excels, is in levels that continue on from one another. The beaver, for example, features a task to build a dam by chopping and collecting branches with the following level featuring the water that has been gathered being used to give the beaver a bath. There are a number of 'night-time’ levels too which feature extra relaxing scenes, soothing music and require you to tuck in the animals and switch off lights for bed.
Levels are designed to test different skill sets like hand/eye coordination, spatial awareness and problem solving. Gameplay for the most part is simple — maybe too simple in some parts — testing players’ search-and-find, drag-and-drop and point-and-click abilities. For the more advanced players, most levels will be a breeze and once completed, the game has little replayability.
The game is free to download and features a few levels with the rest available via an in-app purchase of $1.99. That means you can take a look at the app yourself and see if you think it would be appropriate for your child before shelling out any money.
You don’t have to worry about your children making in-app purchases on your account, though, as Forestry is child-safe -- something I think is extremely important in any app that you might leave in the hands of a young one. There are no links to external websites in the gameplay area and all menus, settings and in-app purchases requires the answer to a simple math equation in order to proceed.
The Good: Beautiful graphics, full of character, tests kids’ problem solving skills. Forestry offers a truly immersive experience and is a thoroughly polished offering that has been well thought out from the artwork to the implementation of in-app purchases.
The Bad: Games are short and offer little replayability once completed.
The Verdict: Forestry offers beautiful, fun, entertaining and educational mini-games for kids aged 3-5. Testing a number of problem solving and spatial skills, the game will challenge children of appropriate age while being easy enough to pick up and play. The artwork makes Forestry a joy to play, but I just wish the games were a little longer or were more plentiful in number.