Picky Kid Rating: 2.5
In Tizzy Driving Adventure, kids can get behind the wheel of a virtual car (with camping trailer attached) and take a little “road trip” through eight different toddler-friendly activities. We like the illustrations and focus on the outdoors, but “driving” has some challenges for three-year-olds, even when they can reach all the controls!
When you first start the app, be patient… This one is a slow loader, on our iPad at least. Soon, you’ll come to a screen showing a boy and a girl in a circle on top of a map. Click one of them to get started (the kid you pick will be your “character” for the game). Oops, I meant get almost started… you’ll still need to click the blue pulsing button that appears after making your character selection.
OK, now you should see a map of an island with one road on it. In the upper left, there’s a “For Parents” area. This section isn’t protected by any sort of fancy parental controls, but there’s just one link in it (an email link for support), so that’s not the end of the world. There’s also a “Settings” button in the upper left — you can toggle music and sound effects on or off, and rate the app. This area is also unprotected… and this time it’s a bigger deal, because “rate this app” actually goes to a whole page of app store links to other apps by the developers… oopsies! Tap the back arrow to get out of the settings menu. The “More!” star in the upper right of the map also goes to a page showing all of the developer’s apps, this time with links to the Android versions. (huh?) These links need some sort of parental controls on them. (Tap “close” in the upper left if you’re stuck staring at this page.)
Oh yeah, back to the map! There’s a little house on it. We can assume that’s our starting point. There are a bunch of road signs on the map, with different pictures on them. Those look like fun places to go! Remember, however, that this is a driving adventure! You can’t just teleport willy-nilly wherever you want to go — you must visit the attractions in order. The first road sign destination is brighter than the others, plus it pulses. We’d better tap that one.
When you do, your character will show you how to “drive” the car by tilting the iPad left or right to steer, then you’ll find yourself sitting behind the wheel of your virtual car, looking at the landscape through the windshield… and oh boy, look at all those fun things to play with on the dashboard. Go ahead, try them!
When you’re ready, start the engine by turning the key. (I wonder how many kids now look for a button to start the car?) As you might suspect, it doesn’t matter whether or not you actually steer the car along the road… you won’t crash. However, you are rewarded for steering. As you drive, stars will appear in front of you. Steer towards them and crash into them to “earn” them! (Luckily, this is a kid app, not a drivers’ ed app, where you’d want to avoid hitting things.)
After you’ve driven for a bit, you’ll arrive at your activity. There are eight different activities:
- Dot to dot (No numbers involved, just tap the yellow flags when they appear.)
- Jigsaw puzzles (Six pieces, with a helper picture.)
- Picking strawberries (Only the ripe ones, and be sure to carefully place them in the basket.)
- Car washing (Scrub the car and the trailer with a sponge, then rinse it off… oops, not quite clean enough — do it again!)
- Birdwatching (Find all the different birds in the trees with your binoculars. Be sure that you hear their songs and that they fly away — you’ll need to make all the birds fly to complete the activity.)
- Putting away groceries (Organize the cabinet in the trailer by putting boxes and cans of food away. Not everything will fit on every shelf!)
- Helping ducks cross the road (Tap each duck several times to get them to the other side.)
- Feeding fish (Tap a box of fish food to feed the koi.)
When each activity is complete, you’ll get a cheer and a star, and will automatically be returned to the map.
Periodically, you’ll spend the night out on the road. First, the stars you’ve earned while driving will appear in the sky. Then, your boy or girl character will snooze in the trailer under the moon. The moon gets bigger each night, a nice touch! When the sun comes back up, it’s back to the map for your next activity.
Finally, after one last night out, you’ll come back to the house, where you’ll see how many stars you’ve earned while driving, and the game will restart at the screen where you select your character.
There’s not a way to explore the activities on the map after you’ve completed the journey. This is true to the concept of a linear “driving adventure”, but the lack of control may frustrate some kids. Also true to the concept: the driving takes a while, about 40 seconds per section. This makes for a somewhat slow-paced game.
We love the illustrations in this game. They’re rich and colorful, and nicely detailed. The music, though repetitive (it has to be on such a relatively long game!) is nice, as are the sound effects. There are no voice-overs. Animations are simple but effective enough. The driving scenes give a decent sense of motion, though the background never changes. Speaking of that, we’d love to see different driving scenes. The flat, open countryside gets monotonous, maybe we could drive towards the mountains, by a lake, or through a city? That would feel more like a real adventure!
This game’s biggest challenge, in our opinion, is that the activities are generally very simple, but the driving part (handling the ipad to steer) is somewhat difficult for small hands. B is three and a half now, but she still can’t gracefully manage the accelerometer by tilting a full-size iPad, which is on her lap. So she usually just sits through the driving scenes (playing with the stuff on the dashboard sometimes). The activities could be managed by much younger kids, but not the driving part (you don’t really want toddlers trying to use the accelerometer anyway — that’s a recipe for dropped iPads!).
Overall, although we love the illustrations and natural scenes, we’re lukewarm on Tizzy Driving Adventure because the activities are too simple, and the linear nature of the game makes it slow. There’s a “lite” version that you can try for free to see if it’s right for your kid before committing.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid review. No fees were paid.]Review: Tizzy Driving Adventure iPad App,
Tizzy Driving Adventure
Played on: iPad2, iOS6
- Tizzy Labs