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Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon Review

Posted by Sarah Reidy on April 10th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon, designed by Tim Fishlock and developed by Explore and Create Limited, is an extremely unique and visually impressive universal app that will most likely capture the attention of children ages 7 and older. Click on “Meet Sir Benfro,” and you will learn that, “Sir Benfro has made some of the most scientific discoveries of his generation…Naturalist, Scientist, and Explorer, Sir Benfro is more than happy to invent creatures to support his theories.” This strange background information is just an example of how quirky and original this app actually is, although younger children will surely find this narrative confusing (as did I, actually). Complete with a Spotter’s Guide to new creatures, and an option to send a postcard via Facebook or Twitter, what can I say other than you have to play it to believe it.

The game play is quite simple in that players must tap Sir Benfro (who I’m guessing got his name due to his large Afro hairstyle) to make him float, while releasing him to make him sink. Sir Benfro is powered by fireflies and it is possible to collect them as you go by steering over them, thereby adding them to your balloon. Bump into objects and you will lose fireflies. Once all of your fireflies are gone, the journey is over. The goal of the game, therefore, is to collect fireflies, avoid obstacles and make your way through a beautifully illustrated landscape until you have made it through the level. Sounds easy, right? Well, not exactly.

Although there are only four different levels (adventures), it is quite challenging to make it through each one. Each time you fail, Sir Benfro will show you what percentage of the total distance you were able to complete. It took myself, my 10-year old and 7-year-old multiple attempts to clear the first level, “Yellow Leaves.” To date, we have not been able to clear level two, “Forest.” Both levels are beautiful to look at and have a dream-like quality. True to his word, players will encounter unusual, imaginary animals as they travel through the landscapes. We are all very curious to see what level three, “Islands,” and level four, “Underground,” look like and the animals we will meet.

While I would hesitate to call Sir Benfro educational, I praise the developers for creating something truly different and interesting for both children and adults. The pace is relaxing and the artwork is really quite beautiful. The music is upbeat and folksy, and apparently, an official soundtrack is also available on iTunes! This app would not be a good fit for younger kids who enjoy a faster, action-style type of game, as they would probably be bored. However, kids who can appreciate a more artistic and creative style of game will in all likelihood become very engaged with this whimsical app.

Safari Party

Posted by Sarah Reidy on March 15th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Safari Party, developed by PIXOWL, Inc., is a universal puzzle/arcade app featuring cartoon animals and people drawn by a well-known French cartoonist and blogger, Laurel. To clear each level, players must move the animal icons around the screen to make groups of four. Once groups of four are formed, players may tap the groups to make them break up and disappear (think Bejewled Blitz). A certain number of animal groups must be cleared in the time allotted to pass each level, getting more difficult as players progress. There are several modes of gameplay: Arcade, Speed, Expert, Zen, and Multiplayer (recently added).

Despite the cute, cartoonish animals and their colorful habitats, the gameplay of Safari Party is actually quite challenging. My son (age seven) had no problem clearing the first five or so levels, but it took multiple attempts for him to go any higher. Because each level is timed, this app is fast-paced and exciting but may be a little stressful for some, too. Players can keep track of how many animal groups they have collected by looking at the tally at the top right of the screen and can also watch the timer scroll as it is visible along the bottom of the screen. Animals start to shake when the time is close to running out, however, as long as new groups of four are still being formed, extra time will be added to the clock. It is also possible to earn special achievements and “cheats,” which will help players to clear each level. Players can also shake their devices to scramble the order of the animals on the screen, so that more matches can be located in time.

Safari Party is one of the few apps that not only attracted the attention of my two kids and myself, but also caught the interest of my husband, who finds the app to be quite addictive. As both of us are former fans of Bejewled Blitz on Facebook, it is no surprise that we also like Safari Party. My husband and I take turns playing, competing with one another to progress to a higher level. I also play the app in a cooperative way with my son, as we help each other identify and group the animals. He particularly likes the look of the animals and their habitats.

The only criticism that I have of Safari Party is that when each level is cleared, a cartoon of a woman shows up on the screen to congratulate players, and I find them to be somewhat stereotypical in appearance. These women are wearing outfits meant to go along with each animal habitat, ie: Jungle-wear, Mermaid-wear, etc, and while each of them is pretty and appealing, one is drawn with cleavage showing, which I feel could have been avoided, as this is a children’s game. All in all, Safari Party is a charming and challenging app for ages 6 and up.

Mini Painters

Posted by Sarah Reidy on March 12th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Mini Painters, developed by Airy Labs, is a multi-player social/drawing app for kids in early elementary school and older. The object of this universal app is to guess correctly what other players are drawing (think Pictionary) in the fastest time possible. Unless a parent is assisting, children need to be fairly proficient at reading to be able to play Mini Painters.

Children can choose their preferred level of difficulty and when they are the “guessers” they must tap on one of six choices as soon as they think they can identify what the artist is drawing. There are six rounds per game, and depending on the number of children playing, each player gets to take at least one turn as the artist. The rest of the time, they are guessing.

When online, children can play with five of their friends (if they also have accounts) or against random opponents worldwide. This is where the app gets really interesting. When your child creates an account on Mini Painters, he or she gets to choose a user name (from existing names) as well as to create their own profile with a cute, customizable avatar. They also list their country of origin, their favorite color, favorite food, favorite music and their mood. Players may also “friend” other players if they wish, so that they can play with them again.

As a parent of a "tween" girl, I find the social aspect of the game to be one of its best features. This is an opportunity for younger children to be introduced to an online community that is both educational and creative. There is no chatting function, so there is no need to be constantly monitoring the conversations to make sure your child is safe. I suppose there is the possibility that someone could try to ruin a good thing by drawing inappropriate content but this has never happened to us and both my children have played with this app dozens of times. My daughter loves making new friends from different countries and she boasts that she has a friend from Japan.

Not only does this app receive high marks from our family for the social aspects of the game, but also for its creativity. When children have their chance to be the artist, they can choose their brushstroke, color, and have a clean palette on which to create their masterpiece. The better artist your child is, the easier it is for others to guess what the picture is, which earns both the artist and the guesser more points. It also encourages children to read and learn new words, as the word choices are quite diverse and challenging.

While I think this is among the highest-quality apps I have ever reviewed, the only criticism I have is that, to my knowledge, there are no built-in safeguards against inappropriate content. The drawing takes place in real time, so there is no opportunity to review and remove drawings that are negative or otherwise violate the rules. Like I said before, we have never had a problem, and it would sure be a shame if a couple of bad eggs ruined this wonderful opportunity for friendship and creativity.

The bottom line is that I cannot believe an app offering such a rich experience is free, as I would have gladly paid for it. My kids were thrilled that, in addition to playing with the app on my iPod, they are also able to play it on their Kindle Fires. Bravo Mini Painters! We can't wait to see what else Airy Labs has in store for us!

Mathical Vol.1

Posted by Sarah Reidy on February 29th, 2012

Mathical, developed by StusApps, is a collection of five math games geared toward older elementary school children. With input from primary school teachers, Mathical was created to help children practice their math facts, such as addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, fractions and decimals.

The five games included in this app can be customized to suit your child’s learning level, as you can choose the numbers that you want included (up to 20) as well as the difficulty (1 through 9). These games include:

Missing Number Skydiving: Players must guide the skydiver to targets that display the correct answer to addition and subtraction equations. My daughter (age 10) had no problem with the game play in this game and although she found it boring, it is a good practice tool that requires quick mental calculations.

Fraction Reaction: Players must identify the correct fractions to complete the whole shape and guide the fraction balls to their correct location. Although a good concept, both my daughter and I found the game play to be difficult as we had trouble maneuvering the fraction balls.

Orderly Birds: Players must move chicks sitting on a branch by swiping them with a finger, until the correct number order is formed. I like this game very much, as it is possible to set the difficulty to a level that is suitable for younger children (ordering whole numbers) as well as older children (ordering decimals).

Divider Slider: Players must tap an arrow to move their monster along a branch indicating the correct answer to division facts. This game caught my daughter’s attention as players can choose the monster icon they wish to play with and she thought they were cute. The only issue with this game is that your child is given a certain amount of time to select the right answer and move his or her monster, and this time gets progressively shorter! At times it is nearly impossible to get the monster to the correct position before time runs out. This can be frustrating for the kids who are playing, especially if math isn’t one of their preferred activities.

Slime Climb Multiples: Players must move their slime monster up the wall, popping bubbles that contain the correct number multiples. This is another game that both my kids (10 and 7) were interested in, as they found the graphics to be more interesting. However, the game play itself was very difficult. We discovered that even if your child locates the right answer, controlling the slime monster itself can be tricky and frustrating.

What we liked: We liked the fact that there are five games to choose from and that each one focuses on a different skill and we also liked that the graphics and game play is varied from game to game.

What we didn’t like: My daughter did not like the fact that there is no point system or other kind of reward for successfully completing rounds. This made the games seem repetitive and she lost interest quickly. As the name “Mathical” implies that there might be some magical or mythical elements to the game, this app could have been made more interesting if children could earn new monsters and other “magical” characters as they progress.

Bigfoot, Go Home!

Posted by Sarah Reidy on February 16th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Bigfoot, Go Home is a universal children’s app developed by BlueRox. This racing game is based on a simple concept: clear the levels with your vehicle by completing each course, while also collecting the required number of coins. After downloading the app and opening it up, I initially thought it was going to be too basic for my seven-year-old son. The first vehicle players are given is a blue monster truck and as the first few levels were very easy, I thought that perhaps this app was created for a preschool- aged crowd.

However, I encouraged my son to test the app out anyway, and as he discovered, the game is more interesting and challenging than I originally thought. As I mentioned before, the game play is quite simple. Pressing down on a green forward arrow will cause your vehicle to speed up, while lifting your finger off the arrow will slow you down. You can also back up using the backward arrow. It is possible to wipe out by flipping your vehicle over or driving over a cliff. My son soon learned, however, that if you do flip over, you can slow down and the vehicle will right itself. It is possible to use the coins that you collect to purchase new vehicles.

According to its description on iTunes, Bigfoot, Go Home! offers more than a typical racing game, in that the way that the vehicles behave (angle, speed, ability to clear jumps) is based on the real laws of physics. This makes the game more challenging, as it require more than merely pressing on the green arrow the whole time, as the player needs to learn how to control the vehicles and make adjustments accordingly.

The things that my son liked best about this app are: 1) each level gets progressively more difficult, 2) the backgrounds and obstacles change, and 3) it is possible to earn new vehicles. Things he didn’t like were: the music (he thought it was too babyish) and the ads. Even though we paid (99 cents) to upgrade to the full version of the game, he still had ads showing up at the bottom of the screen.

When our ten-year-old neighbor came over to play, he watched the game over my son’s shoulder and became interested in trying it. Soon, the two boys were taking turns while giving each other feedback on how to complete each level. I love that the game encouraged teamwork and interactive play. All in all, this is a nice app for kids who like cars and trucks and enjoy racing games. Best suited for children ages six to ten.

Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo

Posted by Sarah Reidy on February 14th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, part of the Humongous game series, which is owned by Atari, is an interactive story and puzzle game developed for children ages four and up. The goal of the game is to reunite six baby animals (a giraffe, hippo, snake, seal, lion, and elephant) with their parents so that the zookeeper may open up the Cartown Zoo. Each page has interactive features that include music, cartoons, mini-games and hidden tools that will assist your child in finding and rescuing each animal. There is also an opportunity for your child to learn about each animal as he or she plays, as well as animal habitats, such as Grasslands, the Artic, and the Jungle.

When I first took a look at the Putt-Putt app, I thought that the style and concept of the game would be too young for my seven-year-old son. I asked him to give it a try, however, to see if maybe the game had some hidden treasures not immediately obvious. After making it through the beginning song and game set-up, my son realized that there is more to this app than meets the eye. It is necessary to navigate Putt-Putt the car through various winding roads and different zoo exhibits in order to locate the baby animals. In addition to needing a basic sense of direction, the game also challenges players to collect tools along the way to help them remove obstacles and rescue the animals. Sometimes, a hidden object is missed the first time around, and your child must use problem-solving skills to check areas again and must brainstorm what tools might help out in each situation. This involves memory skills, strategy, and the ability to reverse directions to get back to the desired areas.

Once my son realized that this game in many ways resembles some of the puzzle and escape games that his older sister plays, he became very engaged in rescuing the animals and solving the puzzles. He played it for about an hour before bedtime, but was not able to successfully rescue the last of the six animals. He had to be convinced to wait until the next day to continue playing (in fact, I almost had to rip it out of his hands!). With fresh eyes the next morning, he was able to rescue the last of the baby animals and complete the game.

It is very clear to me that this app has become one of his all-time favorites. Although both he and I initially thought this game was geared toward younger children, we now agree that kids under five will probably require help from their parents in order to find the all of necessary tools and know what to do with them.

My son is a true animal lover and so it is no surprise that he said that the best part of the game is rescuing baby animals. He loved collecting tools to help him along the way and felt a great sense of accomplishment when he completed all of the game’s tasks. I think he even got a kick out of the cartoon-style animals and musical numbers. His sister, age ten, has now caught on to the charm of Putt-Putt, and she, too, has started playing it. When asked if he had anything else to add to this review, my son said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m glad we didn’t, because we truly did find a hidden treasure. Challenging, educational and pro-social, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is a winner!

The Gnat and the Lion

Posted by Sarah Reidy on February 9th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The Gnat and the Lion is a storybook app and animated short film developed by Nite Light Studios, based on the classic Aesop’s fairy tale of the same name. Kids can follow along with the story as it is read aloud by narrator Nuku Watson, or they can choose to read it by themselves. The story is set against a background of African grasslands and features nature sounds and some African-inspired music. Basically, this is a story about a lion that is tormented by an annoying gnat for a long period of time. In the end, the gnat gets what is coming to him, as after treating the lion very badly, he becomes trapped in a spider web where he must await his fate.

My kids (ages 10 and 7) and I listened to the read-aloud story and watched the animated short film together before bedtime. We liked the animation, and watching African animals such as the lion and the rhino encouraged a discussion about African grasslands and the animals that live there. We liked the fact that the words are highlighted as the narrator reads them, which is very helpful for children who are learning to read. We also liked the narrator’s voice and accent and how it tied into the African-themed story.

My kids questioned both the point and moral of the story as they listened to it and again when they watched the video. They felt very sympathetic to the lion and felt bad when the lion was taunted, stung and generally annoyed by the gnat. They also felt bad when both the lion and the rhino hit their heads on a tree and were worried about whether the animals were okay. They also found the ending to be somewhat baffling when the gnat becomes trapped in a spider web. They felt that while the gnat got what he deserved, they thought that the idea of the gnat getting eaten by a spider might be scary for younger children. Also, they did not like the fact that the lion, who they thought was the “good guy” in the story, was gloating over the gnat being caught in the web knowing he would soon be eaten. For parents who plan to read this story with their children, be prepared to discuss issues of good vs. evil and the golden rule. For these reasons, I believe this story and video are most appropriate for children ages 6 and older.

As the animation demonstrated in this app is very good, I think Nite Light Studios has a lot of potential. However, we didn't like this choice of fairy tales or its message. My opinion is that the developer should try again with a more light-hearted and upbeat classic or else choose a modern-day children’s story that will appeal to all ages.

Hippo Adventure

Posted by Sarah Reidy on February 7th, 2012

Hippo Adventure, developed by okigames, is a physics-based puzzle game offering 84 progressively more difficult levels. The object is to roll the Hippo (boy or girl, player’s choice) to his or her home by avoiding and or strategically moving obstacles, such as boulders, squares of grass and ice, and wooden blocks. The graphics are beautifully done (currently set to a winter wonderland theme) and it is such a great feeling each time Hippo successfully rolls to his or her warm and cozy-looking mushroom cottage. There is no background music playing and the sound-effects are fairly subtle which is much appreciated, as I find loud and frantic background noise to be distracting and super-annoying!

What can I say…I love Hippo Adventure! It is rare that the kids and I find a game that challenges all three of us, keeps us entertained and delights us, but Hippo Adventure does all three! My son, age seven, was able to beat the first ten or so levels with no problems and my daughter, age ten, was able to breeze through the first twenty, but is stuck on Level 21. The game is challenging enough for older children, teens as well as adults, as it often takes multiple attempts to clear a level. Because the game requires logic, spatial- relations skills as well as the ability to strategize, Hippo Adventure is most appropriate for children ages 6 and up.

While this game gets great reviews from me as well as my kids, there are still a few issues that need to be ironed out to make the gameplay even better. Firstly, each time you clear a level or fail it, the text remains the same, reading, “Level Complete.” This makes it slightly confusing as to whether or not a level has been cleared. The second issue is that it is supposed to be easy to swipe your finger across the screen to cut a string holding a snowball, thereby releasing it. However, it is actually very difficult to perform the swiping action in such a way that the snowball is released. This is frustrating, because timing is essential to being able to clear each level.

If these issues as fixed, Hippo Adventure has the potential to be a really great game for all ages. I am hopeful that an update will address these small glitches and I can’t wait to see what the next season or theme will be, as the graphics are what sets this enchanting app apart from the others.

Odd Spotting

Posted by Sarah Reidy on January 12th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Odd Spotting, developed by Micromicon Media Limit, is an “odd one out” game with 144 levels, the goal of each being to spot the object that is different from all the others in the group. As I began to explore how Odd Spotting works, I couldn't help but to remember the lyrics from a classic Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong.”

The app is described by the developer as a game for kids of all ages and has three settings, Easy, Normal and Hard. The odd one out, such as the only tree with red apples, or the only white envelope that is sealed with a kiss, must be identified before the time runs out in order to clear each level. A bonus level follows where a player can earn an extra 100 points by correctly selecting an icon with points hidden beneath it. Sometimes the points are hidden at random but other bonus levels require memory skills (such as visually following a ball under one of three cups as its position gets mixed up).

With its delightful graphics and upbeat music, Odd Spotting definitely attracted the attention of both of my children, ages 10 and 7. On the “Normal” setting, both kids could complete the first 10 or so levels with no trouble at all in the time allotted. They also enjoyed the bonus levels, as they could earn extra points and this kept them feeling challenged. They told me they also like the fact that some bonus levels involve games of chance, like at a carnival, while others require skill.

Because Odd Spotting is both simple and challenging at the same time, this is a great app to play in the car to pass the time and can easily be passed back and forth between two players. My kids have played with this app several times (as have I!) but eventually lose interest when the levels become too difficult for them. An Angry Birds fan myself, I will retry levels ad infinitum until I am able to clear them, but my kids are not this persistent. My recommendation would be to try the “Easy” setting for kids 6 and younger and the “Normal” setting for ages 7 and up. One improvement to the app would be a hint system that highlights the icon that is different before the time runs out, so that retrying the level would be a choice and not a necessity.

The bottom line: I give Odd Spotting high marks for taking an easy concept and turning it into something interesting and innovative. I also like that the app tests kids' visual memory and discrimination skills as they play, making it more of a mental exercise than a mindless activity. My team gives it 1.75 thumbs up!

Words Kids Review

Posted by Sarah Reidy on December 28th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Word Kids, developed by Mobile Madness, is a word search game for iPhone/iPod/iPad that also translates English words into French, Polish and Spanish, depending on the setting. It has Easy, Normal and Hard levels of difficulty. English words are hidden vertically, horizontally and diagonally in a traditional-looking grid. When a child locates a word, he or she then highlights it with their finger. Once the English word is highlighted, the translation into the second language is displayed, along with a graphic to go with it.

I was initially interested in this game because my daughter likes word games and the graphics looked really cute. I also liked the fact that this app encourages kids to learn a second language, remembering that she enjoyed learning some French words when she was in the second grade. My daughter, now almost ten, found the word search component to be somewhat challenging, even on the Easy level. I actually ended up helping her quite a bit to locate the words so that she could see the French translations. The app held her interest for a short while, but she soon grew tired of the repetition. She told me that she liked the aspect of learning foreign words, but that she was hoping for more variation as the play continued. She thought that a reward or other kind of incentive for locating words would have been a good idea. She also thought that some kind of quiz at the end of each level would also have made the app more interesting and helped her to remember the French words that were introduced.

I do agree with my daughter that some kind of built-in incentive where a child can unlock new surprises, such as new backgrounds or music, might capture and hold kids' interest for longer periods. Another improvement might be to make the graphics interactive, rather than static. Although my daughter has not played with the app since she first tried it, I do give Words Kids high marks for introducing children to a second language (or third or fourth). It has a simple design, nice graphics and the content is both educational and useful.

Fashion Math Pro

Posted by Sarah Reidy on November 30th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

When my daughter found out that an expectation of being in the 4th grade was that she would have to memorize her multiplication tables, she said to me, “But mom, I don’t know how to memorize!” I explained to her that all of her learning up to this point has required some form of memorization, just never quite in this way. “Once you learn them, you will never forget,” I told her. I, too memorized my multiplication tables in the 4th grade and you know what? I still remember them as clear as day. Looking for something to boost her confidence, I ran for my iPod.

My daughter likes dress-up games, so I was immediately intrigued by the Fashion Math Pro app, by Jon Hoffman. As I learned my “times tables” with flashcards, I liked the flashcard-like style of this math app. You can personalize the preferences for your child by choosing the type of equation (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) as well as choosing what numbers you would like included in the equations (1 through 99). As my daughter is working on multiplying numbers up to 12, I am able to customize it for her needs.

How it works:

In each round, your child will be given math problems to solve and will earn credits for each answer they get right. They can then use these credits to purchase clothing and accessories from the virtual store, which keeps them motivated. The thing I like the best about this game is that when your child gets a problem right, they hear clapping and cheering or a magic wand type of sound. When they get an answer wrong, they hear one of several silly sound effects, like a buzzer or the sound of breaking glass (but nothing too terrible).

I have found Fashion Math Pro to be a very effective learning tool. When my daughter first started playing, she was getting less than half correct in each round. Now she is getting nearly all correct, up to the number 6. When she has mastered that, I will increase the numbers to 7,8,9, etc. The trickier the problem, the more credits she earns. The faster she solves the equation, the more points she earns as well.

My daughter says, “It is educational because you are learning your math facts. Plus you can earn credits for stuff, so it’s fun, too. The clothes and accessories are cute, so it’s a really good game.” All in all, I am very pleased with Fashion Math Pro and my daughter is too, giving it a two-thumbs up.

Mr. Cloud Review

Posted by Sarah Reidy on November 3rd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Mr. Cloud, developed by Ownage Studios, is another app for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad that looks to be for younger children, but is really not. The description reads, “Wow! Wee! Uhh! Cheerful and friendly Mr. Cloud is flying in the sky while making colourful rainbows and happy faces. He knows how to cheer you up when you are down, and make you giggle when you are happy. Try it and you will see!”

Using your finger to control the cloud's movements, the object is to avoid obstacles like vines, rain clouds and castles as long as possible. If you run into any of these things, it's game over, and you have to start back at the beginning. If you can manage to stay alive long enough, you will begin to collect the colors of the rainbow, one at a time, until you have created a full rainbow. So far, no one on my team has been able to achieve the full rainbow (my team being myself, and my app testers/kids, ages 9 and 6). My 9-year-old daughter and I have collected two colors, and my son has collected three colors.

The graphics are absolutely adorable, and I would agree that this is a cheerful and colorful app. That being said, there is just one problem...this game is hard! I mean super hard! There are so many obstacles getting in the way of your forward momentum, that you might be able to clear one thing, only to be brought down by the next. In this way, I think the developer overdid it. The other thing that I don't like is, if you fail a level, you have to start over at the beginning. I think the game would be much easier and more satisfying if you could keep all the colors you have collected even after you fail a level. My kids and I found it to be incredibly frustrating to collect several colors only to have to start all over at the beginning again with none.

So, here's my take-away. Cute graphics and addictive game play? Yes, definitely, but this app is not designed for preschoolers, as the name and description might suggest. Because of the level of skill needed to actually beat it, I would rate this game appropriate for ages 8 and up (and for those who have high tolerance for frustration!).

Eggs Away Review

Posted by Sarah Reidy on November 2nd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Eggs Away is the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPad app created by developer, Mike Hempfling at Crave Creative. The goal is to launch a shiny, green egg back into its nest, using varying degrees of power and the correct angles to do so. Sounds easy, right? Well, not exactly. Each level gets progressively trickier as new obstacles, such as pieces of wood, beach balls and even bombs are introduced.

While rated appropriate for ages 4+, my nine-year-old has only been able to clear the first two levels and stated that she thought the game was appropriate for older kids who are, “good at geometry.” My six-year-old gamer/son was able to clear the first three levels after multiple attempts and then declared that the game was, “hard, but fun.” I have to confess that after many tries, I have only mastered levels one through three. Yikes, what does that say about me?

The bottom line: Eggs Away is a cute app with simple, yet cheerful graphics. While it is rewarding to finally get the egg back into its nest and see it hatch into a little bird, I found Eggs Away to be much more difficult than the mother-of-all-bird-games, Angry Birds. While the content of the game is mild enough for young players, Eggs Away does require higher-level problem solving and spatial relations skills. For this reason, I think the app is best suited for kids 9 and up. That being said, some younger kids (especially those who are strong in math and games invloving strategy) may be able to master it through trial and error. Although the game is mentally challenging, I do wonder whether it is varied enough to keep older kids interested for long periods of time. As we never progressed past level 3, it's possible that new challenges in the higher levels may be enough to keep older kids engaged.