Toca Life World: Build stories & create your world - Toca Boca

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Short takes

Toca Life World is an open-ended sandbox game to create storylines and build characters. Not suitable under 4; parental guidance to 15 (advertising, in-app purchasing, online connectivity)

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Transmits Sensitive Data
Uses Dangerous Permissions

No gambling content found in the levels played

AppCensus Privacy Check

This privacy check of Toca Life World: Build stories & create your world was completed by AppCensus on 15 November 2021.

App Review

This review of Toca Life World: Build stories & create your world was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 January 2022.

About the app

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

Name of app: Toca Life World: Build stories & create your world
Developed by: Toca Boca
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store, Google Play
Cost: Free
Developer's suggested age: 6-12
ACCM suggested age: This app is intuitive and contains no written instructions, however it is likely a bit complex for children under 4. While players are given free access to a town and building, much of the game requires in-app purchases. Best suited for ages 9+, however, co-playing and parental guidance is recommended to 15.
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of Toca Life World: Build stories & create your world contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

All available features were considered in this review.

App description

Toca Life World is an open-ended, recreational app for players to create stories, characters and roles, as they navigate the world they have built. This app combines the other Toca Boca apps in an all-in-one app. The self-directed game is divided into different towns with buildings, such as the mall or hairdresser. Players can enter and explore the different locations, build characters and shoot ‘films’ within the game, which can spark creativity, playfulness and imagination. Characters can play by themselves or with other characters, such as giving grandma a green hairstyle, or bringing a sloth to a theme park. The player controls the game and there are numerous possibilities to satisfy their imagination. The game begins with 9 free buildings, but in-app purchases are required to progress further.

Reviewers comments

Toca Life World offers children an opportunity to create stories and experiment with different characters and styles, and freely engage in open-ended play with an interactive environment. Films can be made by using an in-app screen recording function and using the child’s microphone to create voiceovers, facilitating children to practice language and conversation between characters. High quality animations and appealing sounds spark interest and intrinsic motivation to explore the environment and experiment with personal style without judgement. Players can explore more of the app by purchasing different towns, places to live, locations, characters, clothing and decorations. However, caution is due as the vivid animations and the upbeat sounds have the potential to lead to excessive screen time, therefore, parents are advised to limit screen time. Furthermore, it would be good if developers introduced higher security and parental controls to limit unwanted purchases.

Players can construct characters in a diverse range of outfits, skin colours, hairstyles and clothing. However, the app has no disability representation and no diverse body representation. While the body depictions are fairly neutral, body image ‘ideals’ may be unconsciously enforced in the players. The game designers should put more effort into representing diverse body shapes and sizes to limit the detrimental effects of body dissatisfaction. The effects of body dissatisfaction may be small, yet they are cumulative and can have significant impacts on self-esteem and psychological wellbeing.

In App purchasing

There is In-App purchasing in this game, examples include:

  • Bohemian house $2.99
  • Starter pack $10.99 (40% off)
  • Mega pack $74.99 (40% off)
  • Super secret pack $19.99
  • Outdoor pack $9.99
  • Character creator $7.99
  • Mall $4.99
  • University $4.49
  • Vacation Pool Villa $2.99
  • Hospital $5.99

Comments: The players are given one free town consisting of 8 buildings, as well as an additional building in another town. Players also receive a free gift each week. However, these free items are limited, and in-app purchases are needed to progress in the game. Players are asked to enter their year of birth before they can make in-app payments (must be 14 years or over). However, this protection is easily bypassed by entering an older birth year. The store is advertised throughout the game, such as on billboards. Sales tactics are also used in the store, such as crossing out the original price and displaying “40% off!”.

Online information

There is some online connectivity, such as:

  • In-app purchases
  • Recording movies 

Comments: No account log in or personal details required, except when making in-app purchases (age information not stored). The microphone and camera roll may be accessed after the app requests consent to record voiceovers and save the films made in app. No sharing functions. There is no indication of whether the microphone recordings will be shared with the developer.

Gambling

At the time of review, the reviewer found no simulated gambling content. If you discover simulated gambling content in this app, please contact us with the details so we can update our review.

Advertising and product placement

There is advertising in this game, including:

  • Screen pop ups: “New items available!”
    • Design your own house
    • “Get 30 new characters”

Comments: Advertising in-app purchases as part of the game but no additional advertising. Some of the more expensive ‘packs’ are stylised with lots of vibrant colour and smiling characters in a display picture all at once. The lower priced items, such as houses, are advertised in a less enticing, more basic format using a monochrome colour background and three items that come with the purchase.

Gender stereotypes and sexual references

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

  • Please see reviewer’s comments above.

Other

N/A.

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About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

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Transmits Sensitive Data
Uses Dangerous Permissions
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Gambling content advice

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. These icons signal simulated gambling activity and where none was noted.

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