Happy Little Farmer Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 6th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Happy Little Farmer is a delightful universal interactive app for children which teaches young players about growing their own fruits and vegetables.

I really enjoy this application, consisting of 15 mini-games within three sections which allow children to grow their own gardens on three different scales - be it a few berries grown in a pot, a larger garden consisting of three types of plants at once, or a farm large enough to need industrial equipment.

Fruit Pot allows children to grow berries at home on their window sill, with tasks including pouring in soil and planting a sapling as well as adding water to help this plant grow.

I simply adore the addition of garden pests that infest the plant’s leaves, as children will need to drag and drop these fun, colorful insects into a glass jar, presumably for catch and release later as well as the removing of spiders which are also present.

Another wonderful moment included is the need to now prune the areas of the plant eaten by the bugs, as children pick up and use a very realistic pair of scissors, an element very effective in getting children to practice their pincher grip as well - great for fine muscle control.

Veggie Patch does a lovely job in demonstrating the sweat equity one may experience while really gardening, as one first needs to clean up the natural waste found, such as stray rocks, sticks, or leaves, sorting this refuse into bins before one begins to hoe the earth, later choosing what fruits or vegetables to plant, burying these seeds into the ground, and adding markers. Do look out for more insects that come back to snack on the garden once grown, removing these pests once more with a tap.

Finally children are able to pick the fruits and vegetables they worked so hard to grow, sorting them into the appropriate baskets in a timely manner as the produce will get moldy and fall from the plants if left on too long - a wonderful detail that makes me smile.

A wheat field is also included as children help drive big equipment - first to clear the ground of mushrooms and other debris and then to fly a helicopter over the crops to water them as well as harvest the wheat with a combine tractor.

While children work the land seen on the distant horizon, the foreground is filled with cute and fun anthropomorphic farm animals having tea parties or fishing, adding many details to enjoy and explore, as hidden hotspots are included throughout all of these sections, adding to the overall richness of this marvelous garden simulator for babies, toddlers and those in preschool.

The level of realism found within this app is simply lovely as I enjoy the inclusion of the bugs eating the leaves from these plants a great deal as well as the whimsy included as monster fruits can also be grown - odd berries of sorts - with varied colors that one feeds to the waiting monster when fully grown and ready for picking.

I also really enjoy how the sun sets and rises between scenes to give the sense that gardening takes time, and that days or longer will be spent cultivating and growing food that is to later be picked.

Another added bonus is the Easter eggs hidden throughout these pages, seen hidden in each of the 15 mini-games, although they can be hard to find sometimes, as I have yet to find them all even after looking carefully for them.

As this is an app for younger players, I would love to see hints incorporated to help children find each Easter egg as these eggs contain a sticker one can use to decorate Bunny’s house - a fun reward that children will want to fully experience, and should be able to, even if help is needed.

After every section is completed, each fruit that one has successfully grown and picked is checked off. Players will have to play both the Fruit Pot and Veggie Patch sections twice to complete all the included foods, and it is helpful to remember what has been grown to make other choices in the interest of growing all the available fruits and vegetables.

I do wish there were some sort of conclusion when all the produce is checked off and am seeing this as a missed opportunity. I am not a huge fan of the cheering between scenes, however, but I value some sort of conclusion. This kind of congratulatory cheer tends to be loud and grating, especially in contrast to the gentle game play and soothing music found within.

Happy Little Farmer is a wonderfully intuitive app for children that does not include any text or narration, making this a lovely neutral language choice for children of all backgrounds, instead including nice renditions of classic nursery rhymes, each pleasant to listen to. Muting the music is also an option.

Also included is a menu not only of the three basic sections of this app, but of the mini-games one can complete within each area, allowing children to find specific tasks to experience over and over again - a really nice touch which also includes some very cute bunny details, which is a real plus that children and their adults will enjoy.

My son is a real fan of this type of app - be it cooking, performing doctor-related tasks, fixing cars, and now gardening as well.

Happy Little Gardener is a terrific choice for any child who also enjoys these types of role-playing activity.

This style of app is a first for GiggleUp Kids Apps and Educational Games, who have also developed very nice puzzle apps to name a few. I do adore this style of young children’s role playing application a great deal, and I hope GiggleUp Kids Apps will continue to develop more apps of this nature, possibly involving a workshop - a theme yet tackled by any role-playing apps to date.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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