After reading a description of Habitat, the Game on the App Store, I knew I had to check it out. My first thought was that it sounded a lot like the SIMS games where you have to take care of a living character.
In the case of Habitat, the character you have to take care of is a polar bear. Indirectly, you also have to look after the park that the bear is living in, which is smart because the bear’s home has a direct impact on its health and well-being.
The “missions” you can undertake are things that you are supposed to do in real life, like turning off the lights when you aren’t in a room and taking shorter showers. You can track your daily progress on the app and earn rewards that can then be used to improve your bear’s health.
The first thing I did with the tokens I earned was to give my bear “5 bear hugs.”
I’m sure he appreciated the love!
So this is a great idea for an app and I totally get what they are trying to do here — challenge players to successfully complete events and undertake real world actions to protect the character. But I think they missed the mark with this one.
When a kid (or anyone) sits down to play a game on the iPad, there needs to be real actions to take right away in the app. The missions here are asking you to go offline to complete actions. While that’s a noble gesture, it just doesn’t seem likely that people will actually follow through with this.
Also, I gave my bear a few “bear hugs,” but where’s the animation when I actually hug the bear and want to see its reaction? It just disappears into the ether when I tap the “reward.” I want to see the bear actually get the award.
One of the missions, “How many kilograms of food did you compost?”
As luck would have it, I haven’t composted any. Not a single kilogram. So I selected “0.” And guess what? I still got awarded points. How does that work?
Overall, this game has a ton of potential, and it is free so there’s no risk. That being said, it really wasn’t fun. I am looking forward to version 2 though. Perhaps they’ll come closer to realizing its great potential the next time around.