osmo.JPGI reviewed the Osmo Genius iPad Learning Kit a few months ago, and now I will take a look at their new game called Coding, so of course I had to check it out.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Osmo before, let me fill you in quickly on what it is. Osmo is a gaming accessory for the iPad, and when you purchase the Genius Learning Kit you get all the accessories needed to play the five games that Osmo has to offer on iTunes. Coding is the next game available for Osmo (coming soon to Best Buy), and will teach your kids the basics of coding in a fun and adventurous way.

What is Coding?

Coding is a way to teach your kids logical and problem solving skills. With Osmo’s Coding you create a sequence of actions that your character will then follow when prompted to. When you download the Coding app from the iTunes store, you will be introduced to Awbie, the game character who reminds me of a very happy marshmallow. With Coding you will guide Awbie on a strawberry eating adventure through many levels.

Coding: What’s in the box?

IMG_2247-Optimized.JPGInside the Osmo Coding box you will find all the Coding pieces your child will need to play the Coding game. The Coding game is available for download from the iTunes store on your iPad.

The larger game pieces you will find in the box look like puzzle pieces and have a circular button with an arrow that can turn like a knob. These circular buttons allow you to turn them to point in the direction you want the game character to move. The buttons also have a picture on them with a command such as walk, jump and stop. There’s a green piece with a “play” button, a grey piece with grey arrows that means to repeat the sequence of actions, a purple piece with stars, and a special piece that will free Awbie if he can’t move anywhere. You’ll also find smaller yellow pieces with numbers that attach onto the action pieces. These numbers mean that the action will be done that many of numbers. For example if you attach the number three to the red jump piece, Awbie will jump three times.

Game play

IMG_2246-Optimized.JPGWhen you first start game play the first level is a tutorial of sorts. You’ll get helpful on screen hints to get you comfortable with the game and show you how to play.

The general idea of the game is to guide the games character named Awbie through each level, all while collecting strawberries. You complete the level when you get to the end which is marked by grey arrows pointing to the exit. You want to make sure you eat all the strawberries along the way, that will help fill up the meter on the left hand side of the screen. Awbie can also eat wood that he gets from a beaver. You will find some friends along the way like beavers, rabbits, bears and more.

You will also bump into treasure chests and when they are opened you will find a stash of strawberries. You can also find delicious pies to eat that will give you strawberries. The treasure chests and pies are a great way to get a large stash of strawberries in one go, therefore filling up the meter even quicker.

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Awbie has a home base, or “campsite” as we called it in my house, that has a campfire burning and a garden. Once you fill up your meter during game play you will earn 1 seed, from here you go back to Awbie’s “campsite” and you can plant this seed in Awbie’s garden. These seeds will then sprout into a strawberry plant that produces special rainbow coloured strawberries for Awbie to harvest. Once you’ve collected a certain number of these special strawberries, you can cash them in to add more items to Awbie’s “campsite”. You can get a second garden, you can fence in your garden, you can get an upgrade on Awbie’s campfire and get Awbie a sleeping bag.

Once you’ve completed a level of game play you get taken to a map where you will see a trail that also shows the unfinished levels to come. The completed levels will show they are completed with a picture of a red strawberry on them. You will also see the “finish line” which is a snow topped mountain in the distance. The unique and fun thing about this mountain is that it has a thermometer sticking out of its mouth. Apparently this mountain isn’t feeling well, and the more levels you complete the healthier the mountain will become.

Here is a video giving a short tutorial on what Osmo Coding is about:

Mine and my sons thoughts

I love the idea behind Osmo’s Coding. Any game that is adventurous and gets kids thinking and strategizing is a thumbs up in my book. My sons have also always loved games where you get to go on adventures and have a home of some sort that you can design or upgrade. I think having a path to follow with an end goal gives kids a great incentive to play, and of course they have to finish so that the snowy mountain will feel better.

The bright colours of the game make it fun and inviting to play and there are plenty of animal friends to find along the way. My youngest son is an animal lover so this was a bonus for him. If you have a little gardener on your hands, they’ll love that they get to grow their own. At one point in the game we bumped into a bear and when Awbie went back to his home the bear was there.

I will mention that to play the Coding game you need to have the Osmo Base which includes the base for the iPad to stand in, as well as the red reflector piece that allows for game play. The Base kit does not come included with Osmo Coding so you will have to purchase either the Osmo Starter Kit, or the Osmo Genius iPad Learning Game Kit before hand.

The OSMO Coding game will be available soon at Best Buy.  You can find the other great Osmo products at bestbuy.ca.