Fans of the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet will love Animal Planet Wildlands, a new app from Nukotoys, available to download for free from the App Store for the iPad, iPad 2 & iPad 3. It's an animal adventure app that lets kids explore the African wildlands in 3D, interact with various animals, create herds or packs, and play games.
What's unique about the Animal Planet Wildlands app is that kids "insert" animals into the game by "scanning" or "tapping" in actual physical cards representing each animal! I'll save the mechanics of tapping the cards in and the app features for a future blog post and focus on just the cards for now.
These NUKO cards, as they're called, are available in select Toys R Us and Target stores nationwide. They come in packs of 3 for $1.99, or 7 for $3.99.
They are also sold in Limited Edition Collector Packs -- $19.99 for four 7-card packs -- exclusively at Apple stores. I was hoping this set came with some kind of collector tin, but sadly, it was just the foil-wrapped cards in a cardboard box.
Collecting the cards is a fun activity in and of itself, because there are 60 different cards to collect -- but you purchase cards in sealed packs, so you don't know which cards you get until you open the pack! Kids just love the challenge of hunting down rare cards and trading cards with their friends.
I scanned some of the cards in my kids' collection to show you what they look like.
The first thing you notice about them is how gorgeous the photos are -- clear, colorful images of the animal in its natural habitat, like you would see on an Animal Planet show.
The second thing you notice is that they're not quite the same shape and size as most trading cards. They are longer and thinner, and they have a notch about three-quarters of the way down. The notch is designed to help kids figure out which part of the card to hold when they scan it into their iPads. It also makes a great place to wrap an elastic band around to keep the cards together! The size and shape also makes the cards unique and cool (although it makes it difficult to find a nice tin to hold your kids' collection, especially since Nukotoys hasn't come up with one yet. Nukotoys, I hope you're listening!).
The third thing you notice about the cards is that the animals on them are all cool. Sure, they have lions and tigers and elephants and giraffes (and they're all cool, of course!), but you also have creatures like the Greater Kudu and the Visayan Warty Pig and the Mouflan. I had no idea such animals even existed, so collecting these cards is turning out to be an educational adventure for me and the kids. The backs of the cards have a few facts about the animal, so kids can learn as they collect.
Here's the full list of animal cards currently available:
Giant Sable Antelope
Malabar Spotted Civet
Palawan Stink Badger
Red Howler Monkey
Scmitar Horned Oryx
Visayan Warty Pig
In addition there are 10 "environment cards", which teach kids about some of natural forces they'll encounter in the animals' habitats.
When these "environment" cards are scanned into the app, they affect the virtual environment that your kid has created. So if your kid scans in a sandstorm card, it will unleash a sandstorm inside the Animal Planet Wildlands app! If they scan in a thunderstorm, they'll see dark skies and lightning, if they scan in a monsoon, they'll see big raindrops, and so on (more about that on a future post).
Here's a list of all 10 "environment" cards currently available:
That's a total of 60 cards!
You can see the full set of cards in the "Library" section of the Animal Planet Wildlands apps. If you already own a card and have scanned it into the app, you'll be able to view your card's virtual counterpart in full color. Any cards which have not yet been scanned in are shown in muted color -- so your kid knows exactly which cards he needs to complete his collection.
Happy collecting, and stay tuned for future posts about how totap in the cards and enjoy the game!
Disclosure: I am a Nukotoys Parents@Play Ambassador and have received compensation for my work. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.