Round The Block Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on April 23rd, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Round The Block is a very unique app that teaches children how to draw in three dimensions, creating shapes that will save the life of Igor, the main character of this app, who is being chased by robots.

This is a rather oddball, quirky app that I appreciate a great deal. Other drawing apps ask users to trace over templates to a varied degree of success, which can be said of this app as well, but here, the drawing of these shapes has a fun context with a lot of action - great for children who may not typically gravitate towards art applicationss.

There are a few elements I really enjoy within this app, set in a distressed urban environment. Not a lot of information is given as to why Igor is being sought after by robots, other than that he is, thereby creating a rather bizarre chase scenario that reminds me of old school Warner Brothers cartoons where the wishing for a parachute while falling off a cliff could produce the parachute from mid-air, save one’s life.

Here, Igor may draw a bridge to cross over, avoiding electrocution by these robots, stairs to climb, evading contact or ramps with large rock spheres to roll over and take out these killer robots.

I enjoy how this setup creates a sense of urgency as well as requires accuracy when tracing, as every line must be drawn to create these structures, and being chased will get children to learn really fast how to identify the areas of these large objects not properly drawn to create the 3D perspective.

I have been drawn into the fantasy of Round the Block, as complete cars may be created to get away in, or ornate, multi-story buildings drawn to hide out in, really capturing one’s imagination as one learns to draw these shapes - interesting choices, as I can to some degree draw in 3D this way although I consider myself without drawing talent or ability.

This app may indeed appeal to those who have felt other drawing apps involving animals to be too precious, with no middle ground between them which is condescending or too professional for non-drawers.

Round The Block has a styled look to it, with bold pops of color and a character more odd than quite human-looking - an inquired taste with an indie feel that will be of interest to some readers, I am sure.

I do wish one could pause the action to take in the 3D drawings as they are created and come to life, as the need to keep moving prevents users from taking the time to really study what is being drawn, but even with this note, this is an original app that I found quite appealing. I also like being able to go back and choose favorite scenes to replay, eleven in total, a nice touch.

Round the Block reminds me of a modern, charmingly grim Harold and the Purple Crayon, if Harold were giving chase to avoid death from killer robots - an intriguing concept to say they least, definitely worth checking out.

iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Round The Block screenshot 1 Round The Block screenshot 2 Round The Block screenshot 3 Round The Block screenshot 4 Round The Block screenshot 5
Share This: