Picky Kid Rating: 3.4
If you don’t yet have a simple puzzle game in your two-year-old’s app collection, Magic Sorter is a good candidate. We were initially disappointed with this app because, given its name, we were expecting… well… a sorter! Which it’s not. But for a toddler puzzle and matching game, it has merit.
First, let me explain what I wanted. I was looking for an app that would help B learn to categorize objects by their attributes… For example, put all the red ones here… all the square things here… all the big things here. To me, that’s what a “sorter” implies! …that we’d need to sort things into the appropriate pile/bin/whatever. Magic Sorter doesn’t do that.
What Magic Sorter does do, however, it does fairly well. Upon starting the game (and waiting through two relatively quick splash screens), you can choose from five different activities: Shape, Silhouette, Size, Puzzle or Color. There is also an option for “Game Mix” — which, you might have guessed — randomizes the choice.
The Shape, Silhouette, and Size activities are functionally all the same. You must drag objects from one area of the screen to the correct “hole” in another of the screen. Think of it like a peg puzzle. The objects in the Shape activity are geometric shapes, in the Silhouette and Size activities, they are friendly-looking sea creatures. In the Size activity, you can select which sea creature you’d like to play with from a visual “menu” at the top of the screen.
The Color activity is similar, except that all objects are the same, so they technically would “fit” anywhere, but you need to match them to the correct color background. I find it a little strange that the color matching game only uses the octopus, especially since we can choose between several animals in the Size activity. This makes the Color activity a little dull.
The Puzzle activity is a jigsaw-style puzzle with six to nine pieces. The completed puzzle is shown briefly before the pieces are mixed-up, and there is a ghosted-back version of the completed picture to help kids place puzzle pieces correctly. There are about five puzzle designs in total.
When you complete an activity, you’ll be reward with an animated “video” of the sea creatures playing music and dancing to lively music. Or, in the puzzle activity, the completed puzzle will animate. Occasionally, the app hangs during one of these animations, though we were able to get back to the home screen via the home button that appears on all activities. You can stop the videos by tapping them.
The video rewards come a little too quickly. I’d like to see the child rewarded after completing the activity more than just once. This would provide a more natural “stopping place” where the player could consider stopping the game or picking a new activity. Because if you’ve picked a specific activity, it (apparently) will continue forever. Playing in “Game Mix” mode solves both these issues. In this mode, the player must complete all five activities before the reward video is shown, and allows for a more natural breaking point.
This game has no options. If you don’t like the music, you’ll just need to turn down the volume. It’s very easy for a child to navigate by themselves, and parts of this game could be played by children under age 2.
In terms of look and feel, it’s well done, though the illustration style is not particularly unique. The animations are well-executed, and the drag and drop actions are particularly nice. Objects feel a bit like they’re floating underwater when you move them. Great touch!
Overall, Magic Sorter is a good puzzle app for a toddler, as long as you don’t expect any real sorting. This app is definitely worth a look if you don’t already have puzzle games for your kids. But there are lot of other puzzle apps out there, so look around.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid App Guide review.]Review: Magic Sorter iPad app,
Played on: iPad 2, iOS4