Oscar the Balloonist flies into the Mountains
Publisher: Fusion Academica, Germany
Target Group: 4-8
Price: 15 Euro
Type of game: Adventure
Oscar is a young balloonist who spends his holidays in a cottage in the Alps. The player joins Oscar in an adventure to discover the flora and fauna in this mountainous landscape Together with Oscar, she is getting to know the area, learning why marmots whistle when in danger, why baby bears are the size of guinea pigs, why grouse don't fall out of trees when they are sleeping, plus many other curious things. Many other successful “Oscar” Titles that explore different habitats and follow different game designs can be found in the list of relevant games.
Elements of the game
The game is divided into two parts: in one part, Oscar visits the animals in the different habitats and in the other part, 12 arcade games are played that involve getting to know animals better. Both parts of the game are interwoven at various points, for example when Oscar has to collect hints for the arcade games while visiting the animals.
Concerning visiting the animals, the player joins Oscar in the season balloon, discovering the Alps in the four seasons. Oscar arrives at the house of his cousin Joseph to explore the different animals and plants. There are several screens with different landscapes, with the animals greeting the player and explaining everything about the season, the habitat and their survival strategies. The dialogues and the pop-up screens that explain details are very informative and offer an astonishing breath and richness of knowledge about how animals live in the different seasons. At the same time, the dialogues, sound bites and information are concise and easy to access.
Concerning the arcade games, several of them have to be “found” while visiting the animals. Others are directly accessible from the outset of the game. While all the games train basic coordination and logic, a fair amount of information about biodiversity is integrated.
How biodiversity is presented
It is the very aim of this game to present the variety of animals and habitats in the Alps. It is especially interesting that there is a detailed account of how the habitat and the animals’ behaviour change through the seasons. The player gets a lot of information about living, feeding and general behaviour of animals. All this information is presented in a friendly, amusing and suitable way. After playing this game, children know about biodiversity and got stimuli to explore the real nature on their own.
Best practice because:
- A very rich learning environment while at the same time a fascinating adventure for children
- Nice presentation, music and extensive explanations and a well-balanced combination of information and game
- Multilingual (French, English and German) with the possibility to change the language at any time