Cato’s Hike: A Programming and Logic Odyssey

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Cato’s Hike is an entertaining and engaging app that will teach players concepts about creating computer programs. It encourages problem-solving, logic, attention to details, and many more vital skills that will be needed by adults no matter what career they may choose.
4.7

App Info

Price: $4.99
AppStore User Rating: 4

Download on the App Store

Overview

Cato’s Hike: A Programming and Logic Odyssey uses a popular and familiar gaming format to teach programming language, logic and techniques to children and adults alike.  Users are challenged with progressively more difficult tasks to move forward in the game, and along the way, learn about how computer programs are designed.

Features include:

  • 60 levels and 12 tutorials
  • Colorful and nicely-designed “cards” to use in programming
  • Capability to email solutions to friends
  • Capability to create unique puzzles and maps
  • Well-designed visual manual for adults or mentors

Quality

Cato’s Hike is a very high quality app.  Developers created an intuitive interface that allows even very young children to learn about designing computer programs.  The symbols are very visually intriguing and the map of each level is clear with puzzles or challenges that can be solved by creating a simple computer program that will guide the main character through the maze or in completing the required task.  The app is simple to use, and the tutorial provided by developers will guide even adults who understand nothing about programming, giving them the tools to help the kids when needed.

Education

From the earliest days of personal computers, educators have recognized the power of teaching children to write computer code.  Computer programs are, at their heart, a series of logical steps that the computer must take to solve a problem or perform a particular task.  The lines of code must rigorously adhere to strict rules and “grammar,” and the logic of the steps must be impeccable.  Even for children who are not planning a career in computer sciences, learning a bit about coding has a lot of value.  Kids learn to work within a set of rules, to solve complex problems using small, discrete steps, and to experiment, redesign, and experiment again.

Cato’s Hike is a computer coding instruction tool dressed like a puzzle or maze game.  Each successive task teaches a new concept about programming in such a painless way that children will hardly know they are learning.  You don’t need to tell them until later!  They’ll learn about code concepts such as looping, goto, branching and more as they help the main character move through mazes and complete tasks to move to the next level of play.  Best of all, there are no penalties for making mistakes.  Kids can try and fail and try again to solve each successively more difficult puzzle, and along the way they will be practicing important life skills such as observation, analyzing complex problems, creating step-by-step soluctions, and more.

App developers have also incorporated the ability to create new maps and puzzles that can be shared with friends via email.  In this way, kids can make fun activities for their peers, or parents and teachers can add more practice or functionality to the app if a player happens to be struggling with a given concept.

Entertainment

Any child (or adult) who enjoys mental gymnastics and puzzles will love Cato’s Hike.  The app is masquerading as a puzzle, with levels, challenges, mazes and more.  It looks and acts like many common video games, so the environment will be familiar to most players.  The developers’ choice to set it up in levels was genius.  It’s so much more fun to beat levels than it is to complete lessons, yet that is exactly what each level accomplishes.

Value

Cato’s Hike may seem a bit on the pricy side with its $4.99 pricetag, but it is well worth the investment.  Everyone should have a basic understanding of how computer code works, and this app will provide that in an entertaining and engaging way.  And if players stick with it, they will learn the basics of writing their own code, which just may ignite interest in a future career choice.

Child Friendliness

Cato’s Hike is not quite as child-friendly as it might be for younger users.  The app has the capability to email solutions to friends, and to share them with the larger community on the developers’ website.  There are also unprotected links to send feedback or to rate the app.  It would be nice if adult users could restrict access to these features, but as it stands, they will simply need to keep a close eye on younger players.

  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES Ratings link (unprotected)
  • YES Feedback link (unprotected)
  • YES Access to Email (unprotected)

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