Pixel and Parker Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 29th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Pixel and Parker is the charming new interactive storybook from Spinlight Studio which also contains delightful board game elements that children and their adults will enjoy.

This is the very sweet story of best friends Pixel and Parker, a cat and boy team who love to spend time together. One day Pixel gets lost and Parker needs to find his friend. Spin the spinner to advance Parker through this story, which is fashioned much like the board game seen in Candy Land.

Each spin of the spinner will have Parker walk the given number of steps around the board. Each place where he lands contains a new page of this story as well as charming interactive elements that propel this story forward. I also really enjoy how gift boxes are found along the way containing a cool new tee shirt for Parker to wear - a fun detail that adds to the richness of this app.

There is a lot to praise within Pixel and Parker.The animated interactive illustrations are bright and colorful with a fun, stylized look to them. The included narration is spoken with great enthusiasm as well as being clear and easy to understand.

Reading Pixel and Parker will never be the same twice - an element I find refreshing and never gimmicky. This is not the first time I have read an application that tries to vary the storyline in some way - sometimes not doing readers a favor as the different elements linked together sometimes read like one non-sequitur after another.

This is not the case with Pixel and Parker as no mater how the spinner spins and the different page elements are read, the story always flows nicely, demonstrating a proper dramatic structure children may learn from as they develop their sense of storytelling.

I also think this is a terrific app for toddlers and those in preschool as the interactions are discovered based on the narration and basic cues that will have children thinking about what they are hearing and how to use this information to interact with their surroundings. From understanding the expectation of tossing coins into a fountain to making a wish or using a tool to smooth over paw prints in fresh cement, cognitive skills will be flexed in ways most delightful.

I also appreciate how bulls eye prompts are also added to other interactive moments so children get the most out of this application, as well as some fun sound effects and musical elements which add to the overall experience.

This is also a cute app for toddlers as the visual of Parker taking his steps around the board does a great job of visualizing both counting as well as the game play found in games such as Candy Land - a favorite among children that can be surprisingly challenging for toddlers the first time they play.

Like Candy Land, this app also includes a few areas within the game board that make kids go back a step, short cuts to move readers ahead, as well as a space that when landed on, sends children back to the beginning of this story. I like the idea of young children getting used to these types of pitfalls they will see in classic board games, especially as here the story simply continues without any issues of winning or losing the game.

My only note is that the spinner can at times be unresponsive - a minor issue really, but it can take a few tries to get the spinner to spin - an area that I hope can be smoothed out in a future update.

I have sincerely enjoyed all the different story elements that are included within this unique, highly interactive book. I have read through this app a few times now, and it never gets boring, with new pages to be found every time I play.

It would be nice, however, to flip back to a page to re-read the text or re-play the interaction - much like a traditional book, and a menu of pages, possibly styled like the board itself, could also be useful for children trying to find their favorite activity to replay.

I really enjoy how Spinlight Studio has branched out into storybooks. They are a developer who has created universally educational apps of the highest quality.

When an unfortunate situation made it necessary to re-download apps back onto my iPhone, I searched not just for specific titles but the developer Spinlight Studio in general, knowing that I was going to put back all of their preschool-aged apps without any hesitation.

I will continue to be excited about any new app attached to Spinlight Studio. I recommend readers become familiar with their apps if they have not yet done so.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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