App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I have been charmed by Sago Sago's new app, Sago Mini Pet Cafe - a universal interactive app for children. For those who do not know, Toca Boca has joined forces with zinc Roe to create delightful applications for toddlers. I have been a big fan of both Toca Boca and the Tickle Tap apps once developed by zinc Roe, many of which are re-developed for Sago Sago. Sago Mini Pet Cafe is a new title with elements that I remember from these earlier apps. It is nice to see these details within other titles.
Here, Sago Mini Pet Cafe opens up to an adorable scene in a cafe, complete with period music coming from the radio, creating a sense of a 1950’s diner that I really enjoy. Three animals can be seen - recurring characters in these Sag Sago apps. Tap Jenja the cat flipping pancakes, Harvey the dog reading the menu, or Robin the bird cleaning the smoothie machine.
Although Sago Sago apps are primarily language-neutral, narration helps children count as they aid Jenja and friends in laying out foods such as pizza or cake slices on a tray, reminiscent of the zinc Roe app Count Caddy - a moment I enjoy becoming reacquainted with. Next, feed each animal with the correct color-coded foods. I find it so very cute how these animals will say “No Thank You” in their own special wordless ways as their reactions to wrongly matched answers as well as how the number of foods seen on the screen is subtracted with each snack eaten, introducing early subtraction as well.
Shapes are explored with Harvey the dog, as a purple food-oriented shape is offered to children who drag this shape to one of two food outlines; be it with the drag of a finger or with the tilt of the iPad. When completed, this food becomes fully-colored and is eaten by Harvey. I really enjoy Harvey’s mild but pointed displeasure at wrong answers as well as his reactions to eating all these different foods, as he is rather fond of the taste of watermelon but he enjoys lemons or broccoli a whole lot less. Jenja and Robin, each with their unique personalities, also order food - their likes and dislikes shining through in this very cute and social puzzle activity with fun foody nuances of Toca Kitchen and gameplay much like the earlier Tickle Tap app Sort Slider that my son and I have enjoyed.
My son’s favorite moment is Robin's smoothie station, as here children get to build their own smoothies from blueberry, red cherry, and yellow cheese syrups. My boy was thrilled to discover that one can mix these primary colors to create secondary green, orange, and purple as well - even brown if all color buttons are pressed at once.
When the cup is filled, help the three animal friends drink up with a tap, watching the varied flavorful colors rise in their twisty straws. I am happy to see that multi-touch will work for this app, allowing multiple children to blend flavors or feed these animals at once, making this app a nice one to share - always a pleasing feature.
I am just smitten by all the human character traits these animals display, from the belches and brain freeze wonderfully demonstrated while drinking these smoothies to Jenja dropping pancakes on her head as she works the griddle or Robin wiping off her accidental sneeze on the smoothie maker in the opening scene. There is also the charming bird wiping her beak and leaning back in her chair, full and content after a large meal of eating correctly matched food shapes, plus many other cute any witty moments too numerous to mention. Also of note is the distressed, less than clean condition these fun animals leave the kitchen, other Toca Kitchen elements that really make me smile.
These details do add such richness to these experiences, making this app utterly enjoyable by children and adults alike.