Dr. Panda Handyman Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on June 19th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

My family and I are always excited when a new role-playing app becomes available as these types of apps allow children to imagine themselves performing various occupations as well as to engage in pretend play, making these apps favorites in our house.

This new app, Dr. Panda Handyman, is such an app, as children work alongside Dr. Panda helping to fix damaged objects of animal friends and neighbors seen within five separate scenes. I enjoy how the different animal connected to each scene may vary as do some of the details found in these scenes. It makes me smile to see some old faces from other apps such as the polar bears or elephants or monkeys, as well as new characters to meet along the way.

In this app, one family has some broken furniture: their bunk beds are broken, their chairs need to be repaired and painted, and their cabinet needs a new coat of paint as well. Children will delight in realizing that while painting the cabinet, a brush stroke made on one side of this piece of furniture will also be painted on the other side, creating symmetry and inviting a creative use of colorful brush strokes.

Also nice is the multi-step process for fixing the bunk bed, as one will need to use a saw to remove the jagged ends of wood, a pulley system to lower the different parts of the bunk beds such as the mattresses, and a hammer to nail these pieces together.

I do also enjoy mixing colors in order to paint the chairs after their legs are straightened out and fixed, but one is unable simply to choose the three primary mixing colors for the paint, which my son will not appreciate as his favorite color is straight-up yellow and will want to use this shade without adding it to the provided red or blue in order to make secondary colors. It would also be nice to be able to paint the chair multi-colors if one chooses instead of a solid color which is available now.

Another room that needs attention is a separate living room where a wall is broken, as is a lamp and vase. Screw in a light bulb, choose a lamp shade, fix the vase by putting the pieces back together via piece outlines and finally add flowers back into this puzzle-themed activity.

Repairing the wall is another nicely involved multi-step process that I enjoy which includes putting the bricks back correctly, adding an additional puzzle element as well as laying down concrete as well as finally painting.

Another animal family has issues with a picture frame that needs to be re-hung, a fish tank in need of maintenance, and a floor that needs to be repaired.

Children will enjoy using a drill to make a hole in which to thread a screw in order to hang the frame, also including the use of a screwdriver and the close-up of the screw that children turn with the use of fingers. Then choose a photo to hang from a fun selection of animal family photos such as a monkey baby photo or giraffe graduation shot.

I really enjoy the inclusion of the fish tank as one chooses decorations as well as fish to inhabit the tank and feeding the fish as well as cleaning the aquarium when it gets dirty - a nice touch.

The mending of the floor is a favorite moment of mine as one needs to use a jack hammer to break apart the old flooring, spreading concrete with a trowel and then select from a choice of bright and colorful tiles, creating a floor pattern all of one color, randomly or as a specific mosaic influence. Do clean the floor after completion - another fun detail that makes me smile.

Both the tub as well as front door need work in another scene. I like how one needs to lower a new bathtub again with the use of a pulley and fix broken pipes within the wall with more fun puzzle-like game play. A hammer is used to remove the old door before a new one is installed. Do paint the new door as well - another cute creative moment.

There is also an attic to visit inhabited by a friendly ghost where one plays a sorting game as well as replacing the tools from a tool box to their rightful places.

Another really nice element is that some of the creative choices one may make within this app such as decorating the door, cabinet or chairs as well as the choice of lamp shades can be seen in the room as a whole looking back at the scene one is working on - a really nice detail to see how one’s design selections look as part of the larger room.

I would have also liked to see the new touches added to the repaired wall and floor incorporated into this app this way as well.

New to this series of apps is the inclusion of 3-D graphics when seen when working with some of these tools or performing other tasks such as changing a light bulb or when using a hammer - nice moments that children will appreciate even though I find these elements overly computerized-looking and lacking the resolution I desire - adult issues children will not be bothered by.

There is much that children will become engrossed with within Dr. Panda Handyman. An especially charming detail is the ability to give Dr. Panda a “high five” by tapping Dr. Panda’s hand when each of these sections is complete. Stickers are also used as a reward for finishing each of these areas as well.

I continue to be excited to see what new Dr. Panda is up to in all of his applications. Do check out other apps from this series as well, reviewed here at GiggleApps.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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