Australian Council on Children and the Media

Banana Kong - FDG Mobile Games GbR

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Short takes

Banana Kong is an endless runner game where ‘Kong’ must outrun an avalanche of bananas to survive. Caution: In-app purchasing, online interactivity and advertising. Suitable for ages 12+ with parental guidance.

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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of Banana Kong was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 July 2017.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: Banana Kong
Developed by: FDG Mobile Games GbR
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: 9+
ACCM suggested age: 12+ with parental guidance
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of Banana Kong contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

The reviewer played the game for a minimum of 40 minutes.

App description

In this app the main character; ‘Kong’, tries to outrun an avalanche of bananas. Players move through 4 different settings including a jungle, cave, tropical Island, an underwater scene and treetops -completing challenges along the way. Players run, jump, slide and glide their way through each setting, collecting bananas and avoiding obstacles while trying not to die or be swallowed up by the banana avalanche.

Reviewers comments

During the first game play in the jungle, players are taught how to move Kong to collect bananas, avoid obstacles, and access additional settings (such as the cave or tropical island). There is an option for this tutorial to be present during all game play if chosen. Players are given challenges to complete during game play such as ‘enter the underwater area 10 times’ or ‘perform 5 flower jumps’ and if they are completed receive bonuses. Players are given the option of skipping a challenge but must pay with game currency (bananas) or by watching an advertising video. Players can access the store to purchase items that may improve their game play or to personalise Kong (see In-App purchasing).The game requires quick thinking and the ability to make decisions under pressure so may help players to develop these skills. Players are able to practice simple mathematics when using their in-game currency to purchase items in the store.  

Parental guidance is recommended for children 12+ due to the inclusion of advertising, in-app purchasing and the accessibility of downloading other apps from the app store without a password being required. These settings can all be controlled via the phone/iPad settings. 

In App purchasing

  • Additional game currency (bananas) can be purchased at a cost of $1.49, $2.99, $4.49, and $12.99 or can be ‘earned’ by watching a video advertisement.
  • Premium content can be purchased such as a ‘golden banana’ which doubles game currency earned ($7.99), a ‘lucky charm’ which cancels out the main character’s first ‘death’ every play ($9.99), removal of in-game ads ($1.49) or the ‘mega sale’ which reduces all in game currency (bananas) purchases by 50% ($14.99).
  • Players can purchase ‘power ups’, ‘boosts’ or parachutes using in-game currency as well as hats to personalise the main character Kong. More options are added as challenges are completed. Users are taken to the App Store when clicking on ‘buy’ where a password is required to progress further.
  • Ads for other games appearing during game play included an option to purchase/download the game. If the game was a free version a password was not required to download it making it very easily accessible.
  • In-App purchasing can be controlled via user’s phone/iPad settings.

Online information

  • Credit card details – required to download the app from the app store
  • Cellular data settings
  • Log ins – requires password to download the app from the app store and for some in-app purchasing
  • Connectivity with social media

After each game play the player can view a summary of their ‘stats’ and can post their ‘stats’ to twitter via a direct link. The game menu accessed via the home screen also has direct access to Twitter and Facebook. The game is also connected to the Apple Game Centre, which is an online application where users can post and share their scores and achievements. Once downloaded, the app can be played without Internet access. This option disables all in-game advertising and links to social media. This can be managed via the user’s phone settings, as can access to the Apple Game Centre.

Gambling

At time of review, the reviewer found no simulated gambling content.

Advertising and product placement

  • Advertisements for other games and products appear randomly during game play. Many of these advertisements (and the games depicted) were considered by the reviewer to be inappropriate for the developer’s recommended age of game players.
  • Players are invited to watch video ads during game play to earn game currency (bananas). Many of these ads were advertising products or games that were irrelevant or inappropriate for the developer’s recommended age of game players.
  • Ads for other games included an option to purchase/download the game. If the game was a free version a password was not required to download it making it very easily accessible. Some of these games were rated 12+ - above the developer’s recommended age of Banana Kong players.
  • Making a $1.49 in-app purchase can stop advertising in the game.

Gender stereo types and sexual references

The main playing character of the gorilla is depicted as male. This is conveyed through his body shape, movements and sounds. In the game shop players are able to purchase ‘parachutes’ to help their character collect game currency (bananas). One of these parachutes is made from a bra and is called ‘Where’s my Bra?’

Coarse language

No coarse language was observed during the review only animal noises, music and sound effects could be heard.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

  • The game does include some ‘cartoon violence’ as it requires the main character to ‘smash’ things with accompanying sound effects. The main character also runs into things and ‘dies’.
  • A pursuing avalanche of bananas can overtake and ‘kill’ the main character. The character disappearing under the pile of bananas depicts this.

Other

The app is an endless ‘runner’ game meaning that access points to other screens/levels appear randomly during game play. This could result in play sessions continuing for extended periods of time as players keep playing, hoping to find an access point to enter another screen/level. It is recommended for players to have regular breaks in game play. This could also be an opportunity to discuss appropriate time limits and the need for regular breaks during game play.  

 

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Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.