App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Gappy’s Mystery Letters is a charming and effective interactive letters app starring Gappy, the cartoony character from Spinlight Studios' earlier app Gappy's First Words. Here, Gappy will be thinking of a letter and asking children to trace with a finger a moving star which engages children to draw a letter that they will then match up with a series of letters to choose from. I believe that the sense of mystery, complete with fun and suspenseful music, will keep children engaged longer than simply tracing over a template which can oftentimes be scribbled over instead of specifically worked with, as this app taps into a child's sense of wonder as they form these letters.
Another nice moment is revealing the gift Gappy receives that corresponds with the letter in question, such as wagon for “W” - nicely stylized as an image later to be used as a coloring page - a nice touch as this cute moment will not register the way it would if Gappy were being given a whole lot of “stuff” like more tangible toys. I would, however, like to be able to control the speed that one needs in order to follow the star as I could see a child new to tracing or printing having difficulty at first - a minor concern really as this is a great app for those new to learning their letters but who are looking for something a little different. Also included is a blank drawing page as well as 52 coloring pages based on the alphabet that can be unlocked by slowly solving the mystery games found within this app.
Thirteen colors and three pencil points are included as well as an eraser. The coloring images are simple and re-enforce the letter being learned, such as “B” for bear, but I wish the “paint bucket” mode were also included as I find that it is difficult to color in coloring apps with a finger used as a crayon or pencil without making a mess of a page - an issue I believe many children share, especially those young enough to need help shaping letters. Better yet, I would love to color with a finger yet not be able to color over the line of the section of the image I am currently coloring, allowing the tangible sensation of coloring without the frustration - something to think about.
All in all, this is another enjoyable, cute and engaging app starring charmingly illustrated Gappy, a rabbit-like character. The included narration is pleasant and very easy to listen to, providing some much needed prompts to children, and the look of these pages is colorfully stylized and without clutter or distractions to create a thoughtful and fun letters app for children. It is worth noting that my included images do not do this app justice as the narration and fun mysterious music bring much to this app which can not be seen by my screen shots.
Recently, Gappy’s Mystery Letters was updated to include a dot-to-dot section, allowing one to practice the printing of both upper and lower letters as well, now using the letter as a template for connecting the dot action - a thoughtful inclusion which works nicely alongside the mystery section of this app, allowing children practice letters of their choice. Do check out the other titles from Spinlight Studios as they include apps for all ages of children - from toddlers on up to later grade school and beyond.