Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Infinity Ring #1: The King of Diamonds

Infinity Ring #1: The King of Diamonds

Spring 2013 Mobile Apps
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Developer: Scholastic
Platform: iPad

The King of Diamonds is one game in a larger universe played out in the Infinity Ring series of books and video games. In this adventure, three time-traveling friends explore the Paris of the French Revolution in 1792, seeking to stop a theft that would have ended the revolution prematurely in favor of the aristocrats. Players explore the city looking for the tools and interacting with Parisian game characters as needed to accomplish the primary objective, all while pursuing other observational side goals, such as collecting series of posters and monetary notes and taking photographs of specific objects.

Navigation is accomplished by means of an on-screen joystick (touch navigation would have been simpler, especially for less-coordinated parents; the children seemed to have no complaints) and by "warping" through the city via map. Players can choose any of the three friends to represent himself or herself. The city is developed with an eye for detail, making exploration far less tedious than it often can be in adventure games. For a free game, there is far more gameplay than one would expect; there are paid apps that offer much less.

Parents may cringe a bit at the voice-acting capabilities of the main characters (about the same level as would be found in an after-school TV show), and the application cheerfully glosses over the more gruesome aspects of the French Revolution, never really addressing the ultimate fate of Louis XVI, one of the minor characters in the game (and whose life would have been spared in the alternate history the children seek to "correct"). But there is enough real history sprinkled in that the players may learn something nonetheless, and the story is so compelling that we are eagerly looking forward to trying episode two -- also free.

Emily Crawford   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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