Safari Tales brings Africa right to your iOS device for a one of a kind learning experience. It's not just a game, but a venture into a greater understanding of jungle animals all the while building literacy. That being said, I have to start out by saying that this app is gorgeous, the 3D graphics and interface are outstanding and I just love the soundtrack.
The app provides for several animals that you take on a journey in order to complete specific tasks. Along the way you can unlock other animals and earn stickers and awards, such as fossils and gems. This also allows you to open a page which gives you tidbits of information on them.
During each adventure a storybook is created, which is available at the end of the task (or accessible any time from the home page). On each page of the storybook there are specific, highlighted, verbs and adjectives, that can be changed to another word by tapping it and selecting other choices. So, instead of your story saying, “she hunted for something to eat”, you can change the word hunted to: begged, dug, searched, or scavenged. The whole point in having this option is to encourage improvement in reading, writing and vocabulary, not to mention overall literacy. Note that when engaged in a task, you can stop the game at any point and your actions will be saved up to that point, all in storybook form. Exiting out early simply takes your animal to bed and ends the story from that point.
You will find a picture of a meerkat on the lower right corner of the game. Tapping on this allows you to ask him questions via a question builder. You build your questions with a word wheel, made up of 6 different sections. The first wheel selections are: Who, Where, When, Why, Which, How and What type questions. When one of these is selected you then go to the next wheel, which allows for grammatically correct choices for your next word. So, if you chose “What”, you would be given words to select from on the second wheels such as: Are, Can, Did, Do, etc.. Following this are up to 4 more wheels that narrow down a multitude of possible questions about animals, fossils and other topics. Once your question is complete, the meerkat chimes in with an answer.
Before your kids play, I highly recommend parents visit the Parent Corner, which has several pages of information on how to play the game and all it provides, as well as the ability to specify the level and length of play for the child. You can also opt to receive email notifications when your child has completed a tale, allowing you to sit down and read it with them.
The app is created for kids from 4-10. I did find that the controls to send your animal about can be a bit tricky. Due to this, the app might be better for the older range than younger.
Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.