When you go camping, or if you live in the countryside, once in a while you see a number of strange floating lights in the dark night. These are fireflies – insects that produce their own light. According to an ancient legend, fireflies carry the light from the stars! Based on this legend, Landka developed an astronomy game for iPhone and iPad: Kiwaka.
In this app you play a pink elephant from Kiwaka - a small place in the African jungle - that tries to catch fireflies to light up the stars. With each firefly you catch, a member of a constellation begins to shine. Once you have caught them all, you have completed a level and lit up a part of the night sky. By tapping the screen, you keep the floating elephant in the air. But watch out: if you crash into the ground or bump into a bird, it is game over! You will have to save the starry sky with care.
Besides the game, Kiwaka offers information about the constellations. You can click on the constellation of your choice on a star map, and a story about its origin pops up. From there, you can move on to astronomical objects that are in the same part of the sky. For more information and pictures, there are links to the space organizations ESA or ESO. A negative point is that the app gives no sense of Earth’s position in space. The user only gets a sense of a 2D map of the sky around Earth.
All throughout the game a dreamy music is playing that gives it a relaxed feeling and gets you in the mood for space. However, it should come with a warning: it will get stuck in your head after a while – luckily it can be switched off!
It’s very easy to play Kiwaka. Because of its simplicity, we only recommend the app for children under the age of 8 years. For the prize of €0,89 it is a fun app that is definitely worth buying for your child to engage him or her with astronomy!
We give this app an 8 out of 10!
Reviewed by Erik Arends