Picky Kid Rating: 2.3
Gaudi Bruno is a storybook app about a little brown bear who lives in the mountains in Italy. He is just starting school and learns lots from his animal friends, including how to ignore his parents’ preconceived notions of certain species. The illustrations are cute, but the story is short and the overall experience is limited compared to other book apps for this age group.
When you first start the app, you’ll come to a start screen where you can select your language (Italian, English, or Spanish). Once you’ve selected a language, you’ll come to another screen where you’ll decide what to do. This screen is missing the obvious “start” arrow. It has a big bear head on it, which is what our testers tapped first, but that doesn’t do anything. Instead, you must tap one of seven different buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Four out of seven of these buttons will take you away from the story (facebook, twitter, the developer’s web site, and rate). Unfortunately, none of these are protected by any sort of “child-proofing”, so your little ones may be whooshed away from the game before they realize it! The three game-play options (puzzle, listen, and read) are interspersed with the other buttons and treated the same visually, so it’s quite hard for kids to distinguish what to do on this screen. We’d recommend making these options more obvious, and grouping the others in a protected “for parents” area.
To start the story, tap either “listen” (to hear it), or “read” (to read it yourself). The story pages are brightly illustrated and somewhat animated. Text appears on the page, and words highlight as the narrator reads them. A nice touch for beginning sight-readers, though the font is rather small. (Thank goodness for young eyes!) Turn the pages forward or back by tapping the right and left arrows in the bottom corners.
In the top right, there’s a bookmark which can be pulled down to go back to the home screen or to skip to different scenes of the story. If you tap to go “home”, you’ll actually go to the start screen (language select), which is a bit disconcerting, and feels like an extra step. Since we have to select a language to get the story, it would make more sense to go to the activity selection screen.
Most, but not all, story pages have some tappable interactive elements. You can also replay the narration by tapping the little bear head next to the text.
Based on the app store description, we thought there would be more exploration of nature in this story. While many mountain animals are mentioned, only a few are shown. As much of the story takes place in the bears’ home (human style), as out in the wilderness…
The narration (in English, an accented female voice) is engaging and friendly, and the story is generally well written. Some of the story is in rhyme and some is not — this is a bit strange (and, I suspect, a result of the challenge of translation). The illustration is rich and colorful, but the animations are a bit choppy and awkward. The sound effects are fine, and there’s an original song that’s pretty fun.
The puzzle is a twelve-piece jigsaw style puzzle created out of one of the story illustrations. The drag-and-drop action is pickier than most — you must be quite precise to get the piece in the right place! When you finish the puzzle there’s a cheer and then… well… nothing. We expected that we’d be given another puzzle to do, or at least the chance to re-do this one, but the only way to do that is to go back home, select a language, and select puzzle, again.
All in all, Gaudi Bruno is not a must-have in your app collection. It would rate higher if the interface was streamlined, and if there were more puzzles (or more activities). As it currently stands, this storybook app has limited appeal for 4- and 5 year olds.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid review. No fees were paid.]Review: Gaudi Bruno iPad App,
Played on: ipad 2, iOS6
- Tales Factory