Picky Kid Rating: 2.3
Minti Kids Fruits & Veggies is an iPad game in which toddlers swipe to match parts of fruits or vegetables. When a match is made, a voiceover reinforces the name of the fruit or veggie and you move on to the next challenge. It’s a very simple concept — and although the game could conceptually be played by kids under two, there are some interface challenges that make it more suitable for older toddlers.
When you first start up the app, you’ll be greeted by a cute, but somewhat rude boy blowing a raspberry. It’s a brief scene before the start screen appears, so if you’re lucky, your toddler won’t have time to study this behavior enough to mimic it. The start screen has a lot going on, but its dominated by a pulsing green arrow, so it’s pretty easy for kids to start playing.
Other options on the home screen include a music toggle, a voiceover toggle (that’s the button that looks like a speaker), and a language selector (the game is available in English, Turkish, French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian). There are also several protected areas that can be accessed from the home screen. In the upper left, you can toggle the difficulty of the game by tapping the button that says “Over 3 Years” or “Under 3 Years”. The more difficult mode includes 3 sliding panels per fruit or vegetable, while the easier mode includes just two. The currently selected mode is what shows on the button, which is confusing, since it’s easy to assume you tap the button to enable what’s shown. There’s also a For Parents area and (sometimes) links to other games by the developer. Links are protected by text screens with instructions, like “Swipe right with two fingers…” If you accidentally enable a protected area, there’s not a way to quickly go back. You must wait a few seconds for the instruction to disappear. This is unfortunate for impatient kids who just want to play the game. It would be better if we could go back by tapping anywhere off the message.
When you tap the big green button, you’ll come to a screen where you can select a season. The buttons for each season are labeled with words, but they have enough illustration and color differentiation that kids can identify them. The idea is that you’ll find seasonal fruits and vegetables in each category. This potentially adds a level of education to the game, but since what’s “seasonal” is regional, or somewhat arbitrary (you can get bananas all year in a store almost anywhere), the educational value is somewhat limited.
After tapping a season, game play is straightforward. Simply swipe the illustrated panels left or right until you have a match. When a match is made (of two or three panels, depending on which level of difficulty you’re playing), you get a “Yay!” and the written name of the fruit of veggie with a reinforcing voiceover. (Usually anyway, sometimes the voiceovers don’t play…) Then the panels will get mixed up again. After about four successful matches, you’ll “win” a sticker.
There’s not a way to review all the stickers you’ve won, but from the home screen or the season selection screen you can play with stickers by tapping the thing that looks like a crumpled illustration in the bottom center of the screen. Here, you’ll find several scenes, selectable on the bottom of the screen, with “stickers” along the right that you can drag and drop into the scenes. You can scale your stickers (somewhat) with a pinch and drag motion, but you can’t rotate them.
This sticker placing activity is a recent addition to the game, and although it adds a new activity, it feels out of place — both literally and conceptually. It would conceptually make more sense if the scenes were very obviously seasonal and the stickers were all fruits and veggies. When we say it’s literally out of place, we’re talking about the physical placement of the button on the screen. Its position near the bottom of the screen and relatively large size makes it a easy target for accidental taps, especially from younger toddlers who have trouble handling the iPad in vertical/portrait orientation.
The look of this game is quite cartoonish. The eyes on the vegetables are what first attracted B to the icon for the game, but when you see faces applied to so many food items, it gets monotonous. The typeface used (for the Roman alphabet languages) is extremely stylized to the point that it’s not really useful for kids learning their letters.
The music gets annoying in a hurry. It goes away once a season is selected, but sticks around in the sticker activity. Luckily, the music toggle is available on every screen, so you can turn it off at will. The English voiceovers are quite peppy. Other sound effects, like the sounds of sliding the panels, are just right.
Overall, we’re lukewarm on Minti Kids Fruits & Veggies. On the plus side, it has lots of content and is conceptually simple enough for young toddlers to play. But that age group will likely have some trouble holding the iPad in a vertical position and avoiding accidental taps of things they don’t want. There’s an iPhone version available, which may be easier for small hands to play.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid review. No fees were paid.]Review: Minti Kids Fruits & Veggies iPad App,
Minti Kids Fruits & Veggies iPad App
Played on: iPad 2, iOS6
- Minti Kids