Tappie Puzzles is a terrific puzzle app for iPad. Consisting of ten puzzles, the app opens to a home page of Earth as seen from space, brightly colored with a rich blue sky and a globe in center screen. Circling our planet are four of the puzzles one can choose from including a desert, Native American, hippo or jungle scenes, as well as an arctic theme involving polar bears or penguins from Antarctica found on the North and South Poles of this globe. Four other selections can be made as well which hover around earth such as a satellite in need of repair, an alien theme, more penguins, or a lovely hot air balloon theme.
Once the player makes his selection with a tap, he is brought to the specific puzzle in question. Each of these motifs, although different in its own way, have a few things in common. The illustrations used are bright and nice to look at, and wonderful ambient sound effects are used that correspond to each theme.
Sometimes a simple yet fun animation begins, describing what needs to be fixed as some of these puzzles focus on a broken object that one is putting back together, such as a meteor hitting the satellite, creating broken pieces in need of repair or an ice path that penguins use to play ball on that has cracked. After the damage has been done, the players uses the pieces found on the bottom of the screen to put these items back together, compete with an ending animation highlighting the item in its newly intact condition.
Other motifs such as the Native American or hot air balloon sections are more akin to a traditional jigsaw puzzle, as these images split themselves into pieces without the animations offered in some of the other puzzles, but these interesting images used make up for the lack of animation.
I like that one uses the puzzle piece outlines to put these puzzles together like a traditional puzzle, but that a faint gray image of the completed object can still be seen, a nice hint for the preschool crowd, and of course, as the puzzle becomes more and more complete, the full color image uncovered also becomes a great tool in completing these puzzles as well. Sometimes the puzzle pieces offered are reminiscent of the shapes found in the game Tetris; other times the pieces are more random and broken up, and I like that both of these styles are included in this app.
Tappie Puzzles has quickly become my son’s new favorite application, interesting because this is not an app I introduced to him, as he found it on his own on the iPad and began using it himself with no help at all, showing how intuitive this app really is. What struck me about this app first off is how wonderful, peaceful and moving the background music is on the title page where one chooses a puzzle. In fact, I am listening to this music now as I write this review and I don’t have to, but it is background music that as an adult I choose to listen to as it greatly relaxes me, as it does my son.
I enjoy the difficulty level of these puzzles as my son sometimes asks for help, but after a pause, he can figure out these pieces by himself.
This app has kept my son occupied for long stretches at a time and is a perfect app to use when sharing a space with an adult as the music and ambient sounds used throughout are a pleasure to listen to.
Even though my son discovered this app on his own on our iPad, I notice that the icon used for iTunes is a generic puzzle piece decorated with an eye and a smile, with a background consisting of a few colored stripes. Although nice enough, I think this app could be better served with an image from the app itself with the jigsaw cutout lines included, as I don’t think the generic puzzle piece image currently being used will pop off the page as one scrolls through iTunes - a shame as this is a really great puzzle app, heavy on content and very nice to look at and listen to.
My son has become very hard to impress with new applications as he is exposed to so many new ones, either from me making a point of sharing something new with him, or as they magically appear on our devices. It is impressive to me how he has taken to these puzzles, even quitting other apps to go back to his new favorite. For this reason alone, this is an app worth purchasing for any preschool puzzle lover.