Alien Buddies is a universal educational app that my son has been really enjoying.
Three activities are included - a very educational matching game that teaches basic colors, shapes, letters and numbers, a well-done dot-to-dot game as well as sticker pages to explore.
My son has really taken to the connect-the-dots activity - something he has been exposed to before, but until now had no interest in. Here, eight silhouettes are offered. Tap to choose the image one is looking to complete. Really nice jazzy music (which parents will be happy to listen to as well) is included as children connect these dots. The night’s sky is the backdrop, complete with floating stars seen in the distance as these images are being transformed from numbers to a complete image once sequenced, reminding me of constellations.
It is especially nice that one can either tap each number in sequence individually or drag a finger around number to number or complete with one continuous movement with a finger, depending on the fine motor skills the player possesses - something my son could use some practice in. As of now, he is only tapping each number, but I hope soon he will be able to drag his fingers to each number as well - a more challenging way to complete these puzzles. If needed, players can also have a hint mode turned on, highlighting the numbers in sequence to make this section easier for young players.
The Matching game is very nice as players drag aliens, labeled with a specific letter, number or the like to the matching pod waiting to carry them to safety. The styling of this section is super-cute as are these colorful aliens who subtly tap their foot or look around nervously waiting for their turn to be saved as they step to the right of the screen.
Part of me wishes that there were some hazard one is trying to save these aliens from, but instead of negative consequences, children are encouraged to do their best by being rewarded with a new sticker unlocked in the sticker section of this app, adding to the base number of stickers one starts out with that can be used to decorate various landscapes.
I especially like how a just-listening mode is included, where no visual clues for corresponding matches are seen, making players rely on their listening skills, also great for children learning English as a second language or for use with special needs children who may need to focus on the understanding of spoken language. It is also nice that the dot-to-dot and sticker sections require no reading, allowing non-English speaking children to enjoy these sections as well.
The first thing I noticed about this app is how bright and colorful all the images found within are. This is especially true within the landscapes of the sticker section, as each of these eight sticker pages contains very different looking fantasy locations with vivid pinks and oranges, greens and turquoise - many colors really that create backdrops which could be at home in Dr. Seuss stories. Forty stickers can ultimately be utilized, with six stickers included to begin with, allowing players to be able to unlock the others as they succeed at the matching and dot-to-dot activities.
It is endearing how each of these aliens or monsters is cuddly and not at all scary. Parents who have spent some time in the iTunes store will understand the popularity of apps that teach these basics, and because a lot of time will be spent with apps like this, it is important for these apps to be fun and engaging, not only for the child, but for the parent as well.
Recently, a puzzle section has been added to this application, adding even more value to this fun, educational app. Here, eight colorful alien choices are offered. Choose with a tap and the drag pieces where they belong, with subtle jigsaw outlines seen as hints. Fun narration explains this intuitive gameplay, as well as a witty comment that kids will enjoy, such as "Where are my legs?" Players can choose to have these images broken up into 4, 6, or 8 pieces.
I appreciate that these puzzles have a nice level of "grab" to them, as they pull themselves into the correct spaces if the piece becomes close enough, as if by magnetism, "clicking" these pieces into place, along with the use of sound effects create for a satisfying experience. A subtle amount of rotation within these pieces is included that adds to the visual effect but does not effect the placement of these parts within the puzzle, and it is nice that kids can collect stickers for completed puzzles as well.
The bright and lively style of Alien Buddies unique matching game play, well-crafted dot to dot and sticker sections, cool puzzles and nice music will keep children entertained for a long time as well.