Amateur writing and low-rent design sink this quick video visit to the ocean’s upper reaches.
To a continual background burbling that sounds like a recording of a tabletop aquarium, sharks, humpback whales, sea turtles, clownfish, shrimp and other marine creatures glide or saunter past in the half-minute or so loops featured on each of the 21 screens. Meanwhile a lushly expressive narrator reads text that runs to lines like “The lionfish is a strange looking creature that has very interesting features,” “Seahorses are gentle, playful, and amazing” (jellyfish, manta rays and schooling fish are also “amazing”) and “Did you know that the sea dragon can only be found in the waters of Australia?” Aside from swiping to turn the page, a zoom gesture to bring the video images to full-tablet width (but not height) and a tap to repeat the narration, there are no touch features—nor any further interactive elements, leads to more information or other extras. Next to the more feature-rich Ocean Blue for iPad (2010) or even a printed photo album like Epic Ocean HD (2010), this isn’t likely to give children more than an ankle-deep experience.
Decent-quality video embedded in an anemic app. (iPad nonfiction app. 6-8)