App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Tiny Farm - Animals, Tractors and Adventures! is a charming exploratory app for toddlers, allowing them to interact with many details within three farm-related landscapes including In the Country, In the Barn, and On the Farm - here also including a nighttime setting. This app includes a cornucopia of interactions to trigger with a tap. Some of them are what one would expect such as helping plant and water crops, tapping a hen to help lay an egg, or even creating gusty winds with the touch of included wind turbines. There are many witty moments as well within these scenes that include short, unexpected dance numbers, a clunky robot and lots of loud motorized equipment with a few unexpected surprises as well.
I appreciate that this app can be used by an easy-going child, allowing each interaction to play out before moving on. One can also turn this pleasant farm into a noisy, chaotic place if busy fingers are moved quickly to trigger all these interactions at once. Although I am quite fond of all the details seen within, I do wish that some of the sound effects could be toned down during some scenes such as a group of girls are doing what looks like aerobics outside as well as the presence of other surprisingly noisy vehicles and other mechanical elements that take away a bit from the soothing background music that I enjoy listening to. Luckily, interactions that may be loud or bothersome can be stopped with a tap as well - which I do appreciate.
While the quirky egg coloring details within the barn and the odd automated feeding of a horse and donkey make me smile - as does the boy digging into his tool box to then fix his tractor, giving a sheep a red mohawk complete with loud, unpleasant music seems mildly aggressive for such an overall charming app. Although I like edgy encounters in apps in general, this moment seems out of place and less family-friendly to the adults who will choose to download this farm-centric application. I did like the other less pointed hair styles that this sheep may be offered that adults will find more in line with the gentle tone that the major part of this app possesses. Likewise, I could do without some of the singing heard from a cow picture within the barn - a possible attempt to give this app a modern feel that I thought muddles the experience.
Another aspect of this app that I am quite fond of is a menu of sorts that gives children close-up shots of interactive areas of this app, guiding their eyes to areas they may not have explored such as being able to see smoke from the chimney or discovering a baby deer hidden in the bushes. A touch of these menu pictures will bring users back into the scene to watch these moments unfold. I do wish one could zoom these scenes with their fingers to see more details as any one element seems small within the page - an issue that may be due more to my age and eyesight but nevertheless something to think about for future apps of this kind.
I have enjoyed Tiny Farm and do recommend it to families with toddlers or those in preschool, but I think parents interested in this app will be drawn to the low key, delightful aspects of this app such as a family of ducks moving about, being able to control the speed of a horse be it galloping or walking, fishing in a pond, or watching a dog digging a hole. I was not a fan, however of the public pay telephone that rings loudly or the robot creation that could be considered sound pollution as well as the dancing grandpa with music that I would prefer to silence - just notes to think about for future apps of this kind.