Toca Nature – a magical experience
- Parker Barry
Toca Boca’s latest app Toca Nature, which launches on November 13, captures the wonder and magic of the natural world with its unique, dream-like style. In Toca Nature, kids can create and explore their own environment, populating it with different species of plants and animals, sculpting the landscape with lakes, mountains and different types of forest and woodland.
Inspired by a child’s perspective and attention to detail, Toca Nature was also influenced by the Swedish app designers’ childhood experiences of the natural world. The app is quite unlike Toca Boca’s previous digital toys, with the dreamy, artistic context amplifying the mysterious and magical side of nature.
Habitats spring up depending on what kind of environment a child builds within Toca Nature: different actions will result in different animals coming to live in certain areas, with each species tied to a particular terrain or plant type. Bears, foxes, deer, woodpeckers and wolves will begin to appear on the map as the natural world expands and grows. Different types of food will also begin to grow in certain environments, and players can gather these foodstuffs in order to feed the animals which have appeared. Children will need to find out for themselves what are the animals’ favourite snacks!
While the different elements of Toca Nature do not necessarily behave exactly how they would in the wild, the beautifully-designed app encourages children to think about how different aspects of the environment connect and interact. Children can view the landscape they have built by zooming in and out using the magnifying tool, observing their world as one entity, or exploring it in far greater detail up close.
As with all of Toca Boca’s digital toys, Toca Nature has an intuitive, child-friendly interface, and there are no in-app purchases or external advertising. There are no rules, with the app being inherently non-competitive and encouraging open-ended play and creativity.
Mårten Brüggemann, Toca Nature Play Designer, comments:
“With Toca Nature, we wanted to convey the magical elements of nature. There are many amazing experiences to be had by children out in the wild, like seeing an animal in its natural habitat for the first time or learning about how a plant grows. Toca Nature doesn’t aim to replace the experience of going out in an actual forest, but instead builds on these experiences, adding a mystical edge. Children are totally in charge of sustaining their virtual world, which is alive in itself but still dependent on their care and attention.”