Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Kapu Blocks is a charming app for young children that allows one to stack blocks, then to knock down one’s structure. On the surface this is a satisfactory explanation of Kapu Blocks, but the dreamy, stylized animation and music create an experience for toddlers that is sure to be as captivating as it is relaxing. Taking place partially on land and partially in the water, a docked boat with a large crane needs help constructing a building on a hilltop. What this building may consist of is up to the young builder as blocks of many styles and colors are included to scroll through with the help of a frog character. There are pink and purple castle blocks, traditional red and white lighthouse building parts, red barn structural pieces complete with farm animals, and pieces that could be used to build a pirate flag, red rocket, pink bunny, musical instruments, or other animal choices. Stacking these varied pieces will create a unique totem of sorts - part building, part fantasy structure. After five blocks are stacked, children will then use a wrecking ball to take down their building in a way that young children will feel is quite satisfying.
I appreciate the interesting detail of adding a mysterious button to tap before demolishing the building that will in some way interact with the structure; be it bouncing around the page, unstacking and re-stacking with grace, or including a whale to jump from the water and over the structure. These are all odd moments of charming detail - and a little absurd - that work well within this richly stylized app that will keep children and their adults eager to continue exploring. A physics engine is used for stacking, and a finger will guide the beaver-like animal hoisting the crane that lifts and stacks these blocks with a lever and will lower and pick up the blocks with use of the claw. Some control is needed to grab and drop bricks without them falling off the tower and back into the ocean with a splash. This app is forgiving to some degree, and placement does not have to be perfect, but children will need to slow down to enjoy and work with the construction app - an aspect that I am fond of.
Another element that I appreciate is that within the first choice of a block, a faint template is shown for older children to use as ideas for complete structures; allowing children to be a little more goal-oriented with their building or mix it up and create something of their own design. The look of this app is wonderful with bright, colorful, and rich details and nuances. I love listening to the sleepy background music and distant seagulls. Children, toddlers, and preschool-aged children will really enjoy working with this building app. Parents will really get a kick out of the look of this app and all its gentle qualities - unique themes that let kids build and then crash down buildings. Kapu Blocks is a lovely primer for the use of physics, as one may need to swing the wrecking ball more than once to break apart the stacked blocks. Parents can help explain why, or just let their kids experiment. Either way, time with this lovingly slow-paced app will be enjoyed by all.