Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
As the name may suggest, Bug Mazing is a maze app with a bug theme that includes activities such as working with numbers, letters, colors and tracing in ways that children will find engaging and adults will appreciate for their educational value. Nature is a big part of these apps and the landscape may either be beautiful and pristine with flowers and insects like bees and ladybugs or include worn details that are possibly less beautiful, but I find these details quite interesting. It also includes a fantasy adventure theme as well as bugs that are styled with different adventure elements, such as Indiana Jones' hat and other details. A narrator gives encouragement while on each exploration and valuable coins and precious gems are collected as rewards. Each area of this app includes different levels of difficulty and unique bugs select. Do note the selection of languages that is also included within this app - always a nice touch. Multiple children can also keep their own games separate, which is good for at home or the classroom.
This app includes four sections that each requires a user to tap the area where they want the bug to go forward around a maze, as well as sometimes with the drag of a finger. One needs to follow the alphabetical or numeric order within the letter and number sections, keeping in mind the openings and closed off areas found in the maze that they are navigating. The number section does not only include counting up from one to twenty, but may also ask players to follow these numbers from high to low as well as following along even numbers or other tasks. Both letters and numbers are displayed on the ground along with mud cracked and dried out from the sun, and the maze areas are sectioned off by grass or weeds growing through the cracks in the ground within the letters area. There are also rocks used as maze barriers seen within the numbers area.
The tracking section is a little more of a straightforward maze experience, here taking place in tall grass. Players use a finger to trace the area to which they want their bug to venture, noting that they may need to visit areas of the maze before completing the exercise. A favorite section of mine is the Colors area: really an activity of patterns with three or four colors, shown here as painted floorboards which must be tapped in order to allow the bug to follow these patterns within the maze. It's a bright, colorful area and I also enjoy the distressed look here - an element often seen within Little Bit Studio.
Another activity in this app includes the Adventure section where one must wander about a garden in search of the castle, charmingly styled with found trinkets from around the house - an element that fans of these bug apps will be familiar with. I do find it interesting that with the Adventure section, one must use a binocular button to be able to see the board at a distance in order to have a sense of the bigger picture of the maze that one must navigate, but only be able to move in the close-up mode, asking players to use their visual memory to navigate these paths as well as a help button to show a path through the maze if one needs help. The style of this app is very nice with a sense of colorful nature-inspired hyper-realism that I have come to expect from Little Bit Studio, that may include gloriously red, poison mushrooms, wonderfully detailed butterflies and ladybugs, as well as other details seen with lush landscapes.
My son has enjoyed this app for nice amounts of time without complaints, and I think parents will agree that this app is time well spent, but I do find much of it past the forwarding of the bugs within the mazes to be at times unintuitive, as neither one of us knows how to re-unite child and parent bug as seen in the Adventure section of this app. Nor do I understand, within the Setting section, the option to choose the Quality from Automatic (best) down to Better and Good. I have also found myself working on the same math problems of counting from 1 to 20 and back down multiple times without other problems to solve within the Difficult section, although I know other questions have been touched upon here so I would love to see some more randomness within these sections as well.
I love the way Bug Mazing looks with its bright and colorful nature scenes, but the hats on the bugs don’t really work for me as you are looking straight down at them and you can’t really tell what you're looking at. I also don’t like how the gems and coins tossed at the bottom of the page in a cluttered mess that can’t be re-arranged by the player, and it is not as obvious as it could be how to swap-out bugs.
I honestly found this app a little frustrating while thoroughly testing is as the slight illustrative instructions that are included for each section don’t always work for me. I still recommend Bug Mazing as I do the other Little Bit Studio apps, but I would love to see a more straightforward approach to game directions in the future, as well as the functions seen in the Setting page. Also, please remove the ad seen for the other apps within this series, especially as it states in the iTunes notes to be without third-party advertising. Developers, be aware that ads for one’s own apps are as bad as advertising in general.