Developer: Media Minds

Price: .99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

iOS Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Adventures of Don Quixote is a bilingual retelling of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha or in it’s original Spanish, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha for young iPad readers. The retelling of the 17th century masterpiece by Cervantes is successful for its target audience; in fact the whole package is appealing. Unfortunately, a less-than-intuitive, cumbersome interface bogs the app down.

There is much to like. The illustrations are whimsical and evocative of the fantasy world in which Don Quixote himself resides. The app is also fluent and well-narrated in both languages making it a good second-language teaching tool. The app has a fair amount of interactivity, with simple puzzles and a few touch points on each page. One issue, however, is that the text is at a grade school level while the activities are geared towards preschoolers.

The main trouble with The Adventures of Don Quixote comes as a  byproduct of a great effort on the developers part to fill the app with lots of extras. The main menu has a great steam punk design, with lots of switches, toggles and pleasing sound effects. There is social network intergration, a lovely navigation system and all kinds of that sort of thing, but it’s rather too complicated for a kid’s book.

The best books in this genre look wonderful, balance text and interactivity well, and are at the same time very simple to manipulate. If I had to do a double take to figure everything out, I suspect young children will have issues too. That said, kids do get technology better than adults, at least in my home.

On top of that, the app is finicky; one needs to touch an exact spot to make things move and it isn’t always apparent where to that spot is or what touching will do. Also, page turning is done by tapping or swiping in the bottom corners, but the app often mistook my intended input.

For example, when coloring a black and white illustration, my broad finger swipes kept causing the page to turn and I would lose my progress. Kids have less fine motor control than adults and a low threshold for frustration; regrettably this app is likely to cause a fair amount of the latter for want of the former. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed in an update, but without one the app requires either parental supervision or a lot of trial and error, neither of which is ideal for this demographic.

That said, I do hope the developers make some changes and continue to publish with future stories having more age-appropriate activities. There is a lot of quality here and its wonderful to see actual literary classics reinvented to appeal to a new and very digital generation.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Books, Reviews

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