Developer: School Zone Publishing
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Storytelling/Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Intuitiveness Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Jolly Try-N-Spy is a charming hidden pictures app reminiscent of an activity similar to those seen in Highlights Magazine, which children have been enjoying for decades. Here, nicely detailed Christmas objects are included in the classic black and white styling, adding to the challenge of searching for the hidden objects seen itemized below the main image. I enjoy how one can tap each of these smaller pictures representing the object one is looking for for an enlarged view as well as being able to zoom into the scene to see details, along with a mild sound effect offered when an object is found. One can also receive a hint, momentarily showing an object that one is looking for in color – a nice touch.

2It is worth noting that, although it’s a fair comparison to the hidden objects seen in other puzzle like that incorporate whimsey by placing unusual objects in surprising places, there is logic that follows the placement of items in these puzzles; such as a sink in a bathroom, candy canes hanging from Christmas trees, or a a candle topping a cake that I think young children benefit from as they use their knowledge of everyday things to help them on their searches.

These illustrations are delightful and include many anthropomorphic animals or other characters who are baking, dreaming about Christmas presents, having fun outside in a snowy landscape, riding a holiday-themed train, and more. I really appreciate how one can re-play a puzzle with a different list of hidden pictures to look for, greatly adding to its replay value. Children and their adults will enjoy searching through these scenes that conclude with Santa riding his sleigh across the page, bringing full color to each of these puzzle once solved as well as resolving the color back when a puzzle is about to be re-played for a very nice effect.

1Families will appreciate being able to save their games, allowing them to re-visit a scene to complete in the future. I do wish, however, that the timer seen keeping track of how long it takes for one to finish each activity were an option that one could remove, as I don’t think this adds to the overall fun – especially for young children. Likewise, I am not a fan of the Hall of Fame seen after every completed puzzle, where the top ten names and times are kept track of for each of these individual themes. I don’t see how adding a competitive touch to such classic family entertainment is a good thing, also taking away from the look of this app with its presumably hand-drawn illustrations that I am quite fond of. Having said this, Jolly Try-N-Spy includes all of the features that I look for in an activity such as this, making it a simple and sweet application to be enjoyed by children as well as their adults.

Posted in: Art, By Age Range, By App Feature, Creativity, Education, iPad Education, iPhone Apps and Games, Just For Fun, Parents and Kids, Preschool, Primary School, Puzzle, Reviews

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