NHM Alive Review

NHM Alive Review

David Attenborough breathes new life into extinct animals in NHM Alive

A spin-off from David Attenborough’s recent Sky TV programme set in the National History Museum, this app lacks the wow factor of that show’s stereoscopic 3D, yet offers its own educative excitement. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much going on as you swipe between static photos of the fossilised exhibits of ten extinct animals, but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a treasure trove of information complemented by some CGI to bring the beasts back to life.

In the default day mode, with its static photos, a pull-out menu lets you view information on the current exhibit, including how and where it was discovered – interesting, if a little dry. A timeline option shows you when all ten animals became extinct. You can also bring up a rotatable 3D map of the museum, where you can input symbol codes – found in the real museum when you go and visit – for six of the exhibits to unlock extra video clips.

However, it’s when you swipe down the screen to move into night mode that things become a bit more exciting – and rather eerie, reminding us of the Night At The Museum movies. Each exhibit starts off shrouded in darkness until you hold your finger on the screen to shine a torch around, thereby revealing a CGI animation of the animal and starting an audio commentary about it by Attenborough.

There are also different options in the sidebar menu for night mode, including a view of the security camera room. The second option brings up bite-size facts and figures about the animal, such as the diplodocus being the height of three double-decker buses, which should appeal to children. The final option reveals a media library for the animal; along with stills and clips from the TV show, this includes 3D models that you can swipe to rotate and see the animated CGI animal walk or fly – giving you a better idea of how it moved.

Rated 5 out of 5

A highly educational app whose spooky night mode and CGI animations make it more exciting and engaging for children.