Picky Kid Rating: 2.3
We tried Robot Puzzle Factory because we were looking for some more challenging spatial puzzle games for an almost 3-year-old, and because the description said that the robots animate when completed — that sounds fun! We came away disappointed, but if you need a five- to ten-minute time-killer for your kid, this may do the trick.
Robot Puzzle Factory is quite simple. Upon starting the game for the first time, you’ll see a robot silhouette… Tap the silhouette to start the puzzle, and drag puzzle pieces from the bottom of the screen to their correct positions on the “blueprint” to build your robot. When you’ve successfully completed your robot, it animates as advertised… but mostly by just wiggling a bit. We were expecting something more complex and interesting.
If you want to return to the main screen to start a new puzzle, you must slide an arrow at the top of the screen from right to left. This action is difficult for small hands on the iPad (it’s probably ok on the phone), and seems unnecessary… Why wouldn’t a simple “back” button work?
On the home screen, you choose different robots to build by swiping or paging through all of the puzzle. (There are fifteen different puzzles at the time of this review.) Robots that you’ve already built will appear in their “finished” state, while ones you haven’t yet built will be shown as silhouettes with a question mark on them. Tap any puzzle to play it.
Also on the home screen, there is a “Parents” area in the upper right, where you can toggle music off and reset levels. Resetting levels makes it so that all robots appear as silhouettes as if you have not yet completed them. B routinely asks me to reset the levels for her. You can also rate the app, like it on Facebook and visit the developer’s Web site. We would prefer that it were harder to access these options since they direct kids away from the game.
You’ll likely find yourself turning the sound down on this game. The music and sound effects are appropriate for video games, but not what we’d call pleasant background music. The sound effect for completing a puzzle sounds really familiar to me — I feel like I have another game that uses exactly the same jingle (is it stock?), but I haven’t placed it yet.
The overall design of the game is not particularly exciting, though it’s not cartoony either. The game is oriented vertically only, which is challenging for young children since the iPad doesn’t fit on their laps well that way. It also does not rotate when the iPad rotates, and is designed for a slightly different aspect ratio (the iPhone?) so there are black bars on either side of the screen area.
The best part about this game is that the puzzles are more challenging than some of the other toddler puzzle apps we’ve tried. Most puzzles consist of 5-8 robot parts (this is not a jigsaw-style puzzle) and some of the parts are quite similar, requiring the player to compare slight differences to place them correctly.
Overall, we’re lukewarm on Robot Puzzle Factory. While it offers some more advanced spatial challenges, the game feels limited by its narrow focus and number of puzzles. Try the lite version first to see if this app is right for your preschooler.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid App Guide review.]Review: Robot Puzzle Factory iPad App,
Robot Puzzle Factory
Played on: iPad 2, iOS4
- Happy Grizzly