Picky Kid Rating: 4.3
Tizzy Seasons is a delightful app themed around seasons of the year with lots for preschool kids to explore. There is a lot to love about this app — like rich illustrations, its focus on the outdoors, and variety of activities! But of course the picky kids always find something to complain about, so read on…
One of the things we like best about Tizzy Seasons is the theme! So many toddler apps seem to focus on indoor activities (or no real-life activities at all) that we’re thrilled just to find one that has a connection to nature and the outdoors, things our family values a lot. And the nature scenes are fairly accurate too! For example, in the bird-feeding activity (found in springtime), you’ll feed a blue jay, a robin and a cardinal, and each bird makes the appropriate call before flying off.
When the app first starts, you’ll get to pick whether you want to play as the girl or the boy. Once you’ve picked your character, you will pick the season you want to play in. This is all fairly intuitive. The season-picking screen is divided into four quadrants, with large icons for spring, summer, fall and winter, pulsing gently on top of representative illustrations. (You may also still choose to switch your character from girl to boy or vice-versa via a small icon in the lower left.)
Once a season is selected, you’re presented with a pastoral scene showing a house in the countryside with a small fenced garden, and a pond in the foreground. The view is the same for each season, but, of course, the seasons have changed, so you’ll see flowers in the springtime, autumn foliage in fall, and snow and ice in the winter scene. Each seasonal scene has five pulsing icons representing different activities to explore. There’s also a (non-pulsing) icon in the upper left that will take you back to the season selection screen.
The activities are quite varied. They range from very simple — like feeding ducks by throwing crackers into the pond (spring), or decorating the house for the holidays by tapping on strings of lights (winter) — to more complex tasks — such as sorting apples into the correct basket based on size (fall) and dressing to go outside on a winter day (Be sure to put your socks on before your boots!). When you successfully complete a task, your avatar (boy or girl) will reward you with a “yay”, and you’ll be automatically returned to the seasonal scene, where you’ll now see a star on top of the activity you’ve just completed. Stars for completed activities last only for one game session, there’s no way to ‘collect’ them over the course of many game sessions.
This game’s biggest problem is slow load speeds between scenes — usually 1-2 seconds. This is exasperated because the “loading” icon is very small and appears in the lower right of the scene. It’s barely noticeable, and we often find ourselves tapping twice or three times on something because nothing appears to be happening. B thinks that if her first tap didn’t work, she must not have tapped hard enough, so by the time the scene loads she’s practically hitting the iPad. Ouch.
Other, more minor complaints: There are some activities, such as kite-flying (spring), where you’d rather NOT be automatically returned to the season scene. It would be fun to fly that kite for a bit longer! It is difficult to water the plant on the bottom left of the screen in the garden-planting (spring) scene. There is some inconsistency in game play. Once we couldn’t ever get a star on the cloud shape-matching game (spring), even though we’d placed all the animals on the correct clouds. Another time we got a star for dressing up for winter, even though we forgot pants! Also, you’ll need to use some sharp-looking hedge trimmers to trim some topiaries (danger, danger!). And finally, the music on the season scenes is too loud. It gets quieter during an activity so that you can hear sound effects, but if you have a reasonable volume set for the activities, the music blares when you’re returned to the season scene.
Speaking of music, it’s not bad, other than the volume. Each season has its own music loop. They’re a little too short for my liking, but other than the volume, quite tolerable. There are very view voiceovers, just the “yay” upon completing activities, and a few giggles here and there. All are well done.
The illustrations are wonderful. They are straightforward and detailed, and each season has an appropriate color palette. Picky kids and parents will appreciate the ‘correctness’ of the drawings. I mentioned the appropriate bird songs already, and similar attention is given to the plants in the garden, where the peas, corn, tomatoes and peppers grow on plants with the right growth habits. And don’t forget — you plant seeds in the spring, but harvest in the fall! We wish the animations were are refined as the illustrations — the swimming ducks feel particularly stiff.
by introducing them to seasonal activities (some chores, some fun). If the developers fix the load times (or simply make it more obvious that a scene is loading) and the music volume, this app could score near perfect. There’s a lite version you can check out before buying.
[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid App Guide review.]Review: Tizzy Seasons iPad App,
Played on: iPad 2, iOS5
- Tizzy Labs