Picky Kid Rating: 4.4
If it’s fair to label a new media title classic, I’m going to do that for Peek-a-Boo Barn. This was the first kid app we got for B when she was about seven months old, and it’s safe to say the folks crammed in with us on many a commercial flight appreciated that we had it. Peek-a-Boo Barn is sure to please very young children and their parents.
The point of the game is to guess which animal is inside the barn by listening to the sound it makes. Upon starting the game (a large purple button that reads “start” with an arrow), children are presented with a bouncing red barn. Listen carefully (and make sure you have your sound on!), and you’ll hear the animal inside. Tap the barn and the doors slide open to reveal the animal mooing, meowing, braying, clucking or squeaking, etc. A voiceover reinforces the name of the animal. Tap the animal and the doors close again, the barn bounces and a new sound emanates from it.
The graphics are very simple — a red barn in front of blue sky, green hills and a yellow sun, in a completely flat style that, at first glance, seem a bit amateur… until you open the barn. The animals are rendered in the same style, but the differences in their personalities and animations make it obvious that the designers put thought and care into them. We play this game on the iPhone, not the iPad, and the graphics may appear a little too chunky on the larger screen size.
Options for the game are available from the home screen. The developers use a clever double-tap mechanism to get to the options so that they’re harder for kids to access… it’s a shame they didn’t do the same for the more apps button. You can choose to play the game in regular or looped mode — we prefer regular for reasons mentioned below. You can also change the voice between US English child (our favorite), US English adult, Spanish adult, or record your own voiceover. Additional languages are available for purchase: $0.99 will buy either a European or Asian language pack. European includes Dutch, French, German, Italian and Swedish, and Asian includes Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese and Hindi.
Here’s what we like about this app:
- Simplicity. Seriously, all you do to move from screen to screen is tap. When B was very young, she’d go straight for the animals’ eyes. Then, when she got a bit more sophisticated with the touchscreen, she attempted to spread the barn doors open with a two-fingered pull. Not necessary, but just as effective.
- The options for voices. We love the “US child” voice. It’s actually several different children, and if you don’t mind less-than perfect pronounciation (like the highly elongated “piiiiig“), these voices will keep your child’s attention. Our favorite is the particularly cheerful “chicken!” voiceover.
- The logical progression to a game end in “regular play” mode. After cycling randomly through the thirteen animals and one bonus, where “everybody” is in the barn, the sun goes down, the moon comes up, and the barn is filled with sleeping animals. “Shh… they’re sleeping. Night night.” says the voiceover. Brilliant!
We have such a minor content complaint, it’s almost not worth mentioning… but really, does a rabbit make a squeaky noise like that? And older children will probably find this game too simple, but Peek-a-Boo Barn is perfect for ages 2 and under!Review: Peek-a-Book Barn iPhone App,
Played on: iPhone 3, iOS 5
- Night & Day Studios