Dr. Panda’s Restaurant Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 25th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Dr. Panda’s Restaurant - Cooking Game for Kids, as the name may suggest, is a wonderful interactive cooking game for kids, including ten recipes to make for eight included hungry animals.

My son and I are thoroughly enjoying Dr. Panda’s Restaurant as this app has so much to offer in cooking fun for children of all ages. This app consists of a two-story restaurant, each containing a two-person table to be filled with the animals who get welcomed by Dr. Panda, now the chef of this restaurant as well as the one who greets these animals before they are sent to their table. Eight animals are included, as are ten recipes to cook.

Tapping a new animal being dropped off by car at the greeting area, nicely dressed in formal wear, will have them sent to an open seat where they will then request a certain dish. I really appreciate how the foods these animals ask for are randomized, adding to the replay value of this terrific kids' app.

A tap of the dish in question will bring players to the kitchen to prepare this food. It is unique and simply wonderful how many steps one may take to make what is to be served - be it cutting, chopping, using the food processor, wok or other tools to cook foods such as corn soup, pizza, apple pie or fruit milkshake.

As an adult, one of my favorite kind of app are the simulated cooking games for adults, such as Cooking Academy. Although I have enjoyed other cooking-centric games for the preschool crowd, I have honestly been to some degree a bit disappointed with the level of realism found among these apps - an adult concern that my four year old has never had.

Because of this, I must say how much of a treat this app is as this game play comes closest to a true cooking simulation while keeping the needs of children in mind, making these activities easy to perform and enjoy without the chance of failure and devoid of scores and timers.

These basic tasks are nice for fine motor skills and can take some time to complete as one may be asked to make relatively advanced foods such as a stir-fry or soup, complete with lots of veggies to prep and multiple steps to take part in before serving these animals their food, as well as feeding these creatures and busing their dishes.

Other details are also included, such as a spider who sometimes visits or a mouse who eats from a small plate left for her.

The details included are also something to talk about, as these animals such as an elephant, hippo, polar bear or raccoon, each dressed for fine dining. The different floors of this restaurant are also delightfully styled, especially the Asian-themed area found on the top floor.

Feel free to salt or pepper dishes table-side. Turn lights on or light the candles to make guests happy, and do tap around the page to find the other activities included - very nice surprises not mentioned in the iTunes description, such as cleaning dirty tables of bits of food and re-setting the table after choosing a new tablecloth, washing dishes and sorting and recycling.

I also appreciate how one sets the table in the Asian restaurant with chopsticks instead of forks - a nice touch that makes me smile.

I do wish one were given the chance to crack the eggs for the scrambled eggs - not just have a chance to mix them already in the pan, and that one had the chance to add the green garnish to the food seen when the eggs are served or add the cross-hatch pie crust included when plating the pie as well.

I also enjoy choosing the fruit to be used in the fruit smoothie and would love to see more creative choices of foods to choose from.

It would also be nice to have the tablecloth choice incorporated into this game as the linens used during game play.

There is also a light that one does not control on the first floor of this eating establishment that I would think one could turn on or off as part of the interactive ambience already offered.

Even with these minor notes, this app is simple marvelous, filling a void that I have felt about cooking games for kids that really let kids cook in a goal-oriented way that teaches about the steps one accomplishes in the kitchen to truly prepare food.

I would love, however, to be able to choose what recipes to practice and what animal to serve - maybe even choose their seat at a specific table in a future update.

This is the second Dr. Panda app, allowing children to role play in a simulated experience.

I eagerly look forward to any new role-playing games TribePlay may come up with, possibly allowing children a building app akin to a children’s workbench, such as Dr. Panda’s Workshop or even the related Dr. Panda’s Mechanic.

Dr. Panda’s Restaurant - Cooking Game for Kids is an app I highly recommend to preschoolers, but don’t be surprised if older siblings and adults partake in some cooking as well.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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