Picky Kid Rating: 3.8
If you’ve been following the Picky Kids for a bit, you’ll know we like to find apps that stand out from the crowd. Identikat definitely falls into that category, visually at least. This is a beautiful creativity and memory-development game/activity with a rich textural look and feel. Solve puzzles and create “cats” out of the best scraps from the sewing basket!
When you first start the app, you’ll see a brief splash screen, then land on the game’s horizontal home screen. The home screen itself is fun. Make sure you (literally) poke around to see what you can find hiding in this nighttime scene created out of lace, fabric, and buttons. There are two main activities to choose from, plus a settings/credits area that’s accessible by tapping the word “Kat?” This should be a little harder to access, or look more like a settings area to make it less likely that kids will tap it accidentally.
The settings screen has a video that shows scenes from the making of the app, as well as lots of Identikat-inspired activities. The video isn’t bad (in fact, it’s pretty good) but the music for the video is a notch louder than it is in the rest of the app, so you’ll find yourself reaching for the volume controls when it comes on. On the settings screen, you can toggle music and sound on or off via two separate buttons, but these toggles don’t affect the settings screen itself — go figure!
There are two activities available from the home screen: Kat Cut and Kat Lab. Kat Cut is a memory/puzzle game where you build cats to match a model, and Kat Lab is a creative activity where you can build your own cat-like creature, or really anything you’d like, out of selection of parts.
When you select Kat Cut, you’ll get to choose a puzzle from a set of six. (I can’t remember if certain puzzles are “locked” until you do others, they may be). Tap a puzzle to select it, and you’ll see this app’s major flaw… It reorients from horizontal to vertical format. For adults, this isn’t that big of a deal — we can turn the iPad easily and without dropping it — but for small kids, it can be disastrous for the device. We recommend supervising!
Assuming you got the iPad turned vertically without a hitch, tap the cat you’ve selected. Oh no! It fell apart! It’s your job to reconstruct the cat out of the pile of pieces at the bottom of the screen. As you drag pieces up the screen, they’ll “boing” in a very satisfying way when you’ve placed them correctly. There are quite a few pieces to place — probably about 30 — so putting the cat back together from memory isn’t an easy task. I managed, but was thinking it would be too hard for B. But then she showed me something! If you tap and hold the cat in the moon in the upper right of the screen, the pieces will return to their correct places. Let go and they’ll fall down again. It’s a very nice way to get the clues you need to finish the cat. And you want to finish the cat because it will reward you with a fun little animation when complete! One snafu we ran into with this activity — we once had a piece get pushed so far off the screen that we couldn’t get to it — we had to reset the puzzle and start over.
The Kat Lab activity is also vertically oriented. In this activity, you can create whatever you want from a palette of items at the bottom of the screen. Drag an item to the “canvas” above to include it in your picture. Use the typical two-finger actions to rotate and scale objects. You can also color them, flip them, and delete them using the tools near the top left of the screen. Just make sure you click the X to delete — not the trash can. The trash can deletes everything (it will give you a chance to cancel before doing so). You can take a picture of your creation by tapping the cat in the moon in the upper right, selecting a frame, and tapping the camera icon.
Compared to some other art apps, this one is fairly limited. For example, there’s no way to change the order of things on your canvas or lock things in place… and sometimes it is a bit hard to select the object (by tapping) that you actually want to manipulate. Occasionally, we’ve had trouble getting an object to go exactly where we want it — but it seems this may have been solved with a recent update.
From either activity, you can return to the home screen by tapping the moon with a house icon — it’s usually in the upper left, but sometimes moves to the upper right when there’s a “back” button in the upper left instead. This is a bit confusing, but not too disruptive.
In terms of look and feel, we love Identikat! The photographic collage look and rich colors and textures are absolutely beautiful, and a nice departure from the cartoon style of many kids apps. We like the music too — it’s an instrumental arrangement that would not be out of place in a cocktail lounge — fading nicely into the background.
If you’re looking for a creative app experience for your toddler, we highly recommend Identikat. It’s a great app for a small price $0.99. But watch out as your kid turns the tablet between horizontal and vertical. You don’t want that small price to turn into the large price of a new iPad! It would be nice to see more puzzles added to the Kat Cut activity for added longevity.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid app review. No fee was paid.]Review: Identikat iPad App,
Played on: iPad2, iOS6