The Daily App: Tree Planet -- Play a Game, Save the Earth
Tree Planet lets you grow virtual trees in an adorably fun game, but its charming graphics and cute animations belie a bigger ambition: to help plant real-life forests and bring relief to a beleaguered planet.
What's the App?
Tree Planet, created by Korean developer Hyung-Soo Kim, is available for free for iOS and Android. The game lets you plant and tend to a virtual tree by watering it, adding fertilizer and even using magic potions. You complete missions by protecting it from hungry sheep trying to damage it for its leaves. It's a simple Tamagotchi-like concept in an app, with a nature-friendly bent and rendered in super-cute, colorful graphics and animations.
Beyond the simple but charming gameplay, it aspires to more than just entertainment. Once your tree reaches a certain level, you can send it off to get planted in real life at a selected site -- such as Mongolia, South Korea or the Republic of Sudan. Tree Planet gives its advertising revenue to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, or UNCCD, and Unicef, which pay for planting the tree. So far, Tree Planet has planted than 250,000 trees.
The app has good intentions and a high adorability factor, but still has wrinkles to iron out. The graphics-intensive animations and cheerful audio loop is processor-intensive, so the app quite buggy and crashes often. I was forced to dig up soil, fertilize the ground and plant and water a seed more than a few times to grow my own sprout. Getting your first tree going will be frustrating.
You'll Want It If...
You're an advocate for green or sustainability causes and love to play simple games on mobile devices -- or you miss your old Tamagotchi from back in the day. Despite the bugginess, Tree Planet is cute and fun -- purely from its happy graphics and silly music. Children will also enjoy the game -- and it's the perfect jumping-off point to teach them about environmental issues. And if you decide to plant a real tree, Tree Planet will send you its name, location and even a photo. You'll receive updates about your trees every few months via e-mail as well, keeping you connected to the cause.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
You might question the idea of "activism by app" or just want to plant a tree. The Good Guide, for example, helps you make educated decisions on the green impact of your shopping choices, offering a database of 50,000 products and evaluating them on environmental, social and other criteria. Meanwhile, One Stop Green Mobile offers tips for green living, as well as solar, wind energy, water, and lighting calculators that help you do energy audits on your home. And if you're a budding young environmentalists, Light It Right game helps you learn about using lights in your home properly, teaching you to make good choices that limit your impact on the environment. ♦
Categories: Games | The Daily App