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spacer all reviews > > > science software

Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa

Pocketwatch Games

Ages 6 to 12

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
4.0
Kid Appeal
4.0
Ease of Use
4.0

Wildlife Tycoon Venture Africa screeenshot arrow indentSystem Requirements

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Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is a game in which players learn the importance of a balanced ecosystem. Set in Africa, the player must maintain many diverse habitats including grasslands, waterholes, and desert plains. To accomplish this, the player must learn to balance food, water, and animal population size. The player is not represented in the game as a character that interacts with the animals, but instead views the game as an outside observer. The player can adjust his/her vantage point with the keyboard arrows and mouse. By using the right and left arrows and up(forwards) and down(backwards) arrows, the player can travel over Africa to monitor his/her developing ecosystem. By using the mouse to click additional up and down arrows on the screen, the player can adjust his/ her height over Africa ranging from ground level to an overlooking aerial view.

The game sends the player on quests suggested as "goals." The player is given goals of what could be favorable for their ecosystem. For example, a text box may appear advising the player that more shrubbery is needed for the zebras to eat. This would be a quest to obtain and plant more bushes. However, these quests are not required in a specific order. One may choose to refill the waterhole before planting more bushes but should keep in mind the longer he/she puts off the goals, the faster the ecosystem may deteriorate. Also, the difficulty setting that the player selects determines the amount suggestions/goals that are provided by the game. A hard game would require the player to keep track of more of the developing ecosystem without help.

Educational Value

Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa teaches the importance of a balanced ecosystem and preservation of an environment. While some facts of nature are changed to allow the game to run smoothly (e.g., flamingos only require water to live and thrive), the game instills the understandings of what factors are essential for a thriving population and how alterations can be devastating - a result playing out all over the world today. If the waterhole dries up, the flamingos will lose their homes and all animals will dehydrate; if there is not enough vegetation, animals will starve, etc. The game is appropriate for a wide range of ages because of the three user-selectable difficulty levels: easy, medium, hard. Easier games are more suitable for children for whom this game is their first exposure to the ideas of ecosystem preservation. Harder games are more suitable for those who already have a more developed understanding of these issues and can keep track of a larger area of Africa without aid from the game.

Kid Appeal

Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is most appropriate for ages 6-12 depending on the difficulty level chosen. Players who love animals and are driven to keep them alive - and not shoot them - will appreciate this program. Lastly, a patient player is ideal. The game is about raising and nurturing the animals to help build a thriving ecosystem, all of which requires dedication from the player.

Ease of Use / Install

Installation of Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is very straightforward. Our reviewers encountered no difficulties and no need to consult a manual. Clear instructions to set up the game load directly from the CD and automatically appear on the screen to guild the user through the process.

Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa is easy to use. Just as installation instructions popped up automatically, instructions pop up throughout a step-by-step tutorial of the game supplied as an option in the game menu.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

Wildlife Tycoon: Venture Africa approaches its box's claim to being "the ultimate ecosystem game". By teaching kids about the need for a balanced ecosystem, the game provides hope for continuing restoration and preservation of the natural world.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other science titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the product.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 98SE/2000/Me/XP, 600 MHz or faster cpu, 40 MB hard drive space, 256 MB RAM, DirectX 7 or later, Direct 3D compatible display with 32MB VRAM, CD-ROM, DirectSound compatible sound card .

Mac: MacOS 10.2.8 thru 10.4.4, powerMac G4 600 MHz or faster cpu, 40 MB hard drive space, 256 MB RAM, nVidia geForce or ATI Radeon compatible 3D display with 32MB VRAM, CD-ROM, OpenAL compatible audio device .

Reviewed on:
-     Pentium 4 - 3GHz running Windows ME, with 1GB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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