Developer: Toonia
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Storytelling/Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Intuitiveness Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Toonia Jelly is an interesting exploratory app for babies and toddlers that allows young users to learn about colors, shapes, and emotions in a way that is unique and interesting. Here, children use a finger to drag an anthropomorphic jelly character around the screen, allowing the amorphous creature to eat colorful bits of food and transforming into these related hues as well as coming into contact with different objects that may emotionally affect him, as he may become concerned when stuck to a burr-like structure or sticky globby objects, needing to be pulled away from these pokey areas. Jelly may become quite pleased when having fun bouncing on soft bubbly area of the screen or become unhappy when he comes into contact with sharp, sometimes cold items as well as taking on the color of areas he has interacted with. Can children read Jelly’s expressions and keep him happy by leading him to favorite areas of this app while avoiding what makes him unhappy?

4I appreciate the colors that are used among the areas to explore, contrasting well with the dark background of the screen and making these bright shades pop nicely, as well and making this a relaxing app one could use in a dark room before bed. Children can play within this gently kinetic activity with their adults, who can use this application in many ways from describing the emotions that Jelly experiences and the different colors included as well as just experiencing an app with a working physics engine for the first time as children can bounce this character around the screen.

In the future it may be nice to have included more specific geometric shapes to learn about as well. Instead, children can learn adjectives such as sharp or smooth, bouncy or sticky, and I am fond of the facial expressions used to convey the jelly’s feelings. I also find this app to be nicely tactile, especially as users need to really pull Jelly away from certain areas that he may come in contact with and stick to – complete with mild yet effective sounds used for a very nice effect that, with the soothing music, fully immerses children into the world that has been created.

3Although to an adult eye the opportunities to interact are not endless, children will feel no loss of ideas for Jelly in terms of interactions. It is also worth noting that as a universal app, Toonia Jelly would make a lovely app for iPhone, used for distracting babies when out and about as a quiet, relaxing app that will keep toddlers interested for quite some time.

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