Living Stories: The Lost Heart is a new storybook by Ravensburger Digital. I really appreciate many of the elements used within this application as the story, about a girl who finds a robot who is missing a heart is quite well written and also includes music, narration and illustrations that combined make for a lyrical experience.
Borrowing from classics such as The Wonderful Wizard of OZ and possibly Alice in Wonderland, the narrative of this story with its pacing and the various unexpected characters one meets on their adventure is very impressive. Although going on a quest to find one’s heart is not exactly a new concept, I am won over by how this story unfolds.
This app contains interactions that sometimes add to the magical experience in subtle ways that I really appreciate a great deal, such as the interactive depiction of how this robot lost his heart and why he needs a new one, complete with simple yet captivating music which is also used as the score for this app in general and creates quite a moment within this story.
I also really enjoy the moment when the duo finds a tunnel that may lead to wondrous lands, guiding them finally to a place where all the things are different as well as the tapping of gears shining brightly like stars in trees and the other poetic hotspot sound within another beautifully moody moment of this application.
The illustrations included are lush and colorful with images that fade from sepia-toned into full color for a nice effect, as do the mild animated details such as the rain effects found in many of these pages.
What I was not fond of, however, is that also included are some more generic interactions such as the ability to knock down a tower of blocks or open a wardrobe allowing a toy to roll out across the page in a bedroom scene, the ability to flush the toilet, run the sink or bathtub in a scene taking place in the bathroom or the inclusion of a malfunctioning blender or popping toast from the toaster in a scene in the kitchen.
I find that these interactions can distract from what is wonderful about this story - a tale that I would enjoy without any interactions at all. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to some if only the meaningful interactions were included, devoid of anything standard and distracting, this book would be an even richer experience.
Even with these notes, I am a huge fan of the ability to tap a question mark to see where all the hot spots are hidden within each page - an inclusion that should be a part of every storybook.
Also included is a jigsaw puzzle on each page of this storybook, found with a tap within a pull-down window of this app. Personally, I did not use this function much so as not to be taken out of the story, but these puzzles are of a high quality, with pieces that snap together in a way quite satisfying when the correct parts come close to the correct areas of these puzzles.
Even with the included notes, I really have enjoyed the time I spent with this storybook and its included mythology. I do look forward to more Living Tales by Ravensburger. I would love to seem more editing in terms of including only the important, sometimes poignant, interactions to achieve the most meaningful experience possible.