Arthur and Charles Present Create & Play is a super-cute and very charming universal app offering a lot of creativity and simple, fun gameplay from the mind of UK artist Moopf - also known as Garth Lancaster.
The first thing I noticed when opening this app for the first time is the bright and wonderfully drawn artwork found throughout. I love the way the characters Arthur and Charles, a boy and his bugapilla look, as well as the other cartoon faces found in this app. These illustrations will certainly appeal to the fans of Todd Parr, but make no mistake, the drawings found within this application are highly original and with a style all their own.
Four sections are offered in this app, my personal favorite being Face Creator, where the player builds wonderfully whimsical cartoon faces from the 178 parts offered arranged into such categories that go beyond the obvious hair/eyes/nose/mouth choices including eyewear, headwear and extras. According to the developers, over 400 billion different characters can be created and after playing with the plethora of options offered, I believe it.
I really appreciate how one is given a choice of 25 prefab faces that one can alter as little or as much as one wishes in order to personalize one's cartoon choice, giving children and adults a great, creative starting point that can spark the imagination of the player. It is especially nice that every detail within these choices that one can select can be changed to a different color, and make note that the color choices offered are extensive. I have seen a few apps that offer this same activity, but few are as fun as this Face Creator. The choices are endless and the music used in the background is upbeat and very easy on the ears - a great companion to this happy, fun and utterly addictive section, as well as the other areas of this very cute app.
Cynics may say that there is nothing new within the next two games offered within this app, as many applications offer a memory-style card match or three-in-a-row type game. This may be true, but it is quite charming that one’s saved cartoon faces as well as other avatars of the artists making are used within these games, as one is either turning over cards in the interest of looking for matching faces or one is looking to connect three-of-a-kind in a row of faces among a grid of many rows.
I must admit that I am not always a huge fan of memory games, mainly because gameplay can seem like it takes forever as one must wait for the previous card to flip back over to tap a new choice. Here, one can make selections as quickly as one wants; the cards will flip back just as fast so there is little to no wait time slowing pairing, making this a very special memory game indeed, beyond the terrific artwork and music. It is nice that one can choose either 16, 24, or 36 cards and a basic Classic mode most people know. The mode Time Trial gives the player five minutes to make as many matches as he can, where as Endless mode offers 90 seconds to start, but with the addition of time and points as the game progresses with endless card matches that one can make as long as time permits.
I have also see many three-of-a-kind, Bejeweled style games as well - a type of game I enjoy. Although this may not be a new concept, I have enjoyed playing this version and it will probably be the first three-of-a-kind game my son plays, it being great fun to see your created faces appear during the game, as is the case in the other game sections as well. Here, the options include Classic mode, Time Trial which limits the player to a five-minute game, as well as Collect, where the player is given specific faces to collect, three-in- a-row style, as collecting all of these characters will advance the player to the next level.
An interesting game, Patterns is also included which is also very fun, involving a series of two or three faces that one must find within the grid of character choices, understanding that the correct right to left sequence of the faces one is looking for must be found, although in the grid these faces may be left to right, right to left, up or down, or down to up, even creating an “L” in some circumstances. Classic mode here consists of 90 seconds to make as many matches as one can, with a second added per correct pattern. Time Trial allows for five minutes of game play.
It is also very nice that information for up to four players can be stored individually and that volume for the sound effects and music volumes found within this app can be set independently for the taste of the player, as well as whether to include simple animations or not through the four fun backgrounds available within these games, such as a space or water theme.
Although a kids' game, adults will delight in exploring this app as well, as will the older siblings of this target audience of younger children. I am very smitten with this app and the art of Moopf. I greatly look forward to Arthur and Charles’s first interactive app for iPad to be released in the future.