We’ve been checking out some cool games and apps for kids and, knowing we’ll be spending a good few hours in airports over the summer, we were all too happy to try out the brand new Airside Andy app. Launched earlier this year, Airside Andy is the first MMO (massively multiplayer online) game for young children. Kids get to customise their character and explore a virtual world inside the airport, helping keep the airport ticking along, loading and unloading planes, and playing educational mini-games within the game.
For oldies like me, it’s completely mind-boggling to watch a 7 year old navigate such a vivid and interactive CGI world with ease, tapping and touching the screen to explore new areas or games. Back when I was younger, playing a role-playing game meant hours of typing in commands trying to open doors or flick switches, so looking over Danger Boy’s shoulder as he plays Airside Andy makes me feel positively Edwardian (I am not).
The game itself is pretty cool, as far as imaginative play goes it’s fantastic, and the fact that it’s been designed specifically for young children means that they won’t come across anything age-inappropriate. As a parent, though, I had some doubts about the MMO aspect – that suggests meeting other players and engaging with them in some way, so of course I had to check out the parents’ section! I have to say that I’m reassured to know that they don’t allow “free chat” with other players – there are specific words and phrases allowed, but that’s it… and frustrating as that might be for older kids, for parents it offers serious peace of mind!
There were a few cons for me, but to be fair all of them seem to be because I am late to the game in terms of technology… we don’t even have an iPad so didn’t get to enjoy the CGI on a bigger screen 🙁 Also, the detailed CGI makes for a large app – as I have had gobbled up all the space on my phone with HD videos I had to first have a clear-out before downloading. The only real negative for me was the in-app purchases – we didn’t have a problem as my kids know better than to wear me down, but I imagine some kids might try to put a bit of pressure on for some in-app spending money.
My 9 year old girl enjoyed it and gave it 3.75 stars (really) but wanted something more challenging, whereas my 7 year old boy was completely immersed and asking to play every moment he could, giving it 4.5 stars and claiming it was “good for finger exercises”, whatever that means! My gut is that it’s hard to know whether your child is an MMO sort of being until you actually give it a go – but that’s cool, because it’s free!
Check out the website to learn more about Airside Andy, or download the free app from the Google Play store or the App Store.
Disclosure: We received compensation for this post and video via Mothers and Shakers.