ARGH Is Putting It Mildly | Touch and Go

Shockingly flawed app from typically solid developer.

AVOKIDDO has created a number of apps for children including Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens and DNA Play to positive reviews. Their latest production is seriously flawed. With so much recent discussion about diversity in apps and evaluating apps , it is hard to understand how a a product with a racist storyline gets produced.

Catch fish. Dig up a key to a treasure chest. Match symbols, repeat a pattern of musical notes, find the right path through a series of caves. These are just a few of the challenges players will need to complete while working their way through a treasure map with a motley crew of pirates in We ARGH Pirates (Avokiddo, iOS $3.99 ; Android, $3.99 ; Gr 1-4). Crisp graphics tell the story of the journey that traverses a group of islands while sound effects and music set the mood. The app is nearly wordless, so it rewards players who don’t mind a trial-and-error approach to solving each level. When players fail at a task, they quickly get a chance to try again, and there are occasional onscreen hints about how to swipe or tap your way out of trouble.

Players overcome dripping lava, a perilous bridge, dangerous ocean rocks and.....islanders. Brown-skinned and body painted, and portrayed as easy to dupe, they protect their treasure while the pirates try to knock them on the head with coconuts to put them to sleep. To defend themselves, the islanders jump up and down, chase the pirates, and throw bones at them until they are ultimately knocked out.

While serving as obstacle to overcome in an adventure game with cartoonish characters, the islanders are yet another reference to white people taking what they want from people of color, who are depicted as less than human. VERDICT Interesting puzzles and challenges can never, will never, make up for a racist storyline. —Chris Gustafson, Richmond Japanese Immersion Elementary School, Portland Public Schools

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