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

Parents' Choice Awards : Video Games : Online Video Game
The Time Tribe

The Time Tribe

Fall 2013 Online Video Game
Ages: 10 & Up
Price: $9.99

The storyline in Time Tribe, an immersive online game, involves four children who converge on an old mansion. There they discover that they are members of a centuries-old secret society of time travelers. That sets up an episodic, back-to-the-future adventure which explores historical and archeological places with an abundance of mysteries and challenges.

A character-driven point-and-click game, The Time Tribe lets players rotate between four children with distinct personalities who are accompanied by a helpful bird companion, Kismet. There's also a villain to add suspense and other quirky characters. The opening episode takes place largely in the creaky mansion, with a creepy butler and a time-machine elevator. And that's where players begin a quest that's powered by free-roaming exploration. There are new places to discover, artifacts to collect, a gallery to decorate, and plenty of puzzles and mini-games (from matching mosaics to cracking codes) to play. These all lead to centuries past, from Ancient Rome and Egypt to Inca Peru and Troy.

Throughout the game, players click on objects and interact with other characters to learn and chat as they find clues and figure out each step of their journey. In an age of loud and hyper entertainment, The Time Tribe slows everything down and strives for play motivated by story depth instead of anxiety. And while its richly detailed but unanimated comic-book graphics are a bit of a throwback, The Time Tribe game's emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, plus loads of educational information, leaves no doubt that gaming done right can be a fun way for kids to learn.

The game can be played for free at the website, but the basic monthly membership plan provide free in-game currency, additional "side quests" and storylines, exclusive in-game items, and bonuses. If it's in your budget, the deluxe version is worth its price. Children will receive a monthly package of sealed letters, printed emails, and physical artifacts drawn straight from the game.

Don Oldenburg   ©2013 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
ThunderSnow Media, Inc.

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