Developer: Play Creatividad
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Many people know of Edgar Allan Poe and his exceedingly dark and twisted tales. Plenty of people have actually read them, too. Not like there’s any shortage of Poe story collections out there. But even with all the terror, macabre, sorrow, and murder, even with every one of his tale’s ability to consume the reader, nothing quite compares to Play Creatividad’s interactive collection.

iPoe 2 – The Interactive and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe Collection currently plays host to two more of Poe’s works: Hop Frog and The Black Cat. The Raven in all its glory is planned as a future addition in an update but in the meantime readers can enjoy (does one really “enjoy” stories like these?) the two that are available in addition to a collection of story sketches, and even The Edgar Allan Poe Route; an assortment of notable locations for fans to visit with descriptions and website links. But the stories are why we’re all here. And the stories are definitely something else. Both The Black Cat and Hop Frog feature a number of interactive elements – in addition to music, animations, and sound effects – that range from coloring in sketches to swinging a noose and more. Swiping in either direction turns the page (in that direction), and tilting the device horizontally opens up the menu for easy navigation between stories and even individual pages.

These are two great (if more than a little dark) stories on their own, especially The Black Cat, but the added element of a subtle soundtrack, animations, sound effects, and some absolutely stellar illustrations really play up the mood. I’ve never been so completely absorbed in my iPhone’s little screen as I have been while reading iPoe 2’s tales. Play Creatividad has a knack for knowing exactly where to place their interactive elements as well as what interactions might suit the moment best. Simply finishing The Black Cat made me feel sick to my stomach thanks to all these elements coming together, and I mean that in a good way.

As absorbed as I was in the story of a demented and tortured court jester and a man plagued by the ghosts of his compulsive violence, there were a few noticeable typos here and there: a wrong word in one spot, a lack of a space between two words in another, that sort of thing. It’s also unfortunate that there are only two stories available at the moment, but the eventual inclusion of The Raven is definitely something to look forward to.

iPoe 2 is a great example of interactive eBooks done right. Each of its elements – story, animation, illustrations, audio – have been treated with care, and they all blend together to create what some would call “an experience.” Just be sure to remember that these are not kid-friendly stories.

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