Zappy Squirrel, a Gamified Edutainment App
Zappy Squirrel is a gamified edutainment app developed by Juego Studios for IEEE to get younger people interested in engineering.
Gamification and edutainment
Gamification of academic material is a great way to engage, stimulate and retain attention on a complex subject or theme. Academia, corporations and governments are now switching to edutainment apps to deliver content with both entertainment and educational value. Educational games are an effective way to introduce and popularize topics, while still associating them with a “fun” element.
Zappy Squirrel is an edutainment app developed by Juego Studios for The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The IEEE 1264-2015 standards guide details methods and designs to protect electric power supply substations from animal intrusions. This is essential information to prevent interruptions and equipment damage, as well as ensure personnel safety. Zappy Squirrel is a fun mobile game designed around the core idea of the 1264-2015 standards and is geared to get younger people interested in engineering and STEM fields.
Unity3D Game Engine
The game is set around Metropolis power station where Eddy, an engineer and entrepreneur has designed a number of obstacles and deterrents to keep animals out. Users play as Zappy the squirrel, a scientist, engineer and adventurer hired by Eddy to help test the effectiveness of the deterrents by breaking through them.
The app is available on iOS and Android platforms.
Zappy Squirrel is designed along the lines of a classic 2D side-scrolling game, where one journeys through a series of challenging progressive levels. The player has to run, jump, climb and use available tools to pass the series of obstacles in each level, while collecting as many acorns as possible. Obstacles range from simple barriers which can be jumped over, to moving electrical fences where the player has to wait to pass at the right time. Other obstacles like sticky gel can be passed only after collecting special items like Super Boots. Level scores are calculated based on the time taken to finish the level and the number of acorns collected.
Power-ups and hidden objects:
Players can select from powerups like the time freeze, shield and super jump at the beginning of each level. Other in-game power-ups can be collected for short-term benefits like 2x (a score multiplier) and the Acorn Basket, which collects all acorns.
Graphics and UI:
Zappy Squirrel features 2D perspective graphics with a low-key colour palette. 2D animations are used to enhance character movement and other elements in the game. The interface has been kept basic and uncluttered for easy use. A combination of text and symbols are used for menu items for universal use. Options and buttons are kept to a minimum to reduce the number of clicks to get to the game. Power-ups, hidden items & deterrents are explained in an intuitive way as the gameplay progresses.