Picky Kid Rating: 2.4
If you are looking for a kids app that looks and feels different from the bulk of them on the market, Adventurous Animals fits that bill. But remember… different is not always good. This app, while fairly entertaining and somewhat educational, suffers from overall awkward user experience.
The app opens with an interactive screen showing eight animals, ten flowers, areas to tap for “medals” and “games”, and a nicely subtle “grown-up zone”. Tapping the flowers (which look like eggs when closed) opens them, and with each flower, a new number appears, reinforcing numeral recognition. It could be improved if a voiceover said the number out loud as well.
Tapping an animal from the opening screen takes you to an interactive scene with that animal. The name of the animal is written at the top of the screen, and is spoken out loud if you tap the music note icon. We’d prefer a different icon, since a music note icon usually indicates that music will be played. Tapping an individual letter will speak the name of that letter. You can move through animal scenes by tapping the red “forward” arrow in the upper right of the screen. The “back” arrow returns you to the home screen, NOT to the previous animal scene — we’d prefer a different icon. Some animal scenes have additional video-like animations which you can start by pushing a red button. One a video has begun, you must wait until it’s complete to continue playing.
When tapping “games” from the home screen, you’ll be presented with three activity options, Memory, Counting and Spelling. “Memory” is a bit of a mis-nomer. The point of this activity is to select the animal indicated by the written and spoken cue. It’s not a memory game, but more of a recognition activity. If an incorrect choice is made, a very cute “Oh-No!” is spoken, and the screen immediately changes to a new challenge. It would be better to let the child keep trying until they select the correct animal. (Though the “Oh-No!” is so exciting sounding that I could imagine kids might make incorrect selections intentionally!)
The Counting activity is a good one for learning numerals and quantities. In this game, a number of flowers are shown, and the point is to tap the number that represents how many flowers there are. It’s a great activity, but the numbers you need to tap are too close together, making it much too easy to pick the incorrect one.
In the Spelling activity, you’re presented with an animal and some letters floating around on hot-air balloons. The goal is to tap the letters in the correct order to spell the name of the animal. This spelling game is substantially more difficult than the ones found in other apps we’ve reviewed because there is no visual clue to the order/shapes of the letters. When you select the correct letter, it jumps off the hot-air balloon and to the top of the screen. Selecting an incorrect letter prompts the “Oh-No!” voiceover and sends you directly to the next challenge. It seems strange to me that the names of the letters are not spoken as they are selected, and that the child does not get a chance to hear the word they’ve spelled when it’s done correctly.
Completing challenges in all activities earns stars and medals.
In terms of look and feel, Adventurous Animals is quite different than other kids apps. Instead of the cartoony style that so many games use, the animal characters in this app look like plastic 3-D models. Other elements are rendered differently, and some are quite flat — in some scenes this makes things feel like they are strangely floating. Our main complaint about the look and feel is the typeface. It is an extremely narrow typeface and it’s difficult to read.
The voiceovers (in English only) are fine, expect that there’s a bizarre pronunciation of “lamb” – the b at the end is overemphasized. There is no background music (except in the videos). This game has no options at all.
This game has potential, and we like the concept behind the counting activity a lot. But overall, Adventurous Animals is an app that needs substantial improvements before we would whole-heartedly recommend it.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid App Guide review.]Review: Adventurous Animals iPad app,
Played on: iPad 2, iOS4
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