Bugs and Buttons Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on January 18th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Bugs and Buttons is a fun and quirky universal app composed of a large selection of games to explore, each bright, colorful and educational.

I am impressed with how much content is available within this application, as English and French speakers have a total of 18 games to choose from, with a variety of other languages available as well.

I am happy to report that although one may consider these activities “mini-games,” the quality of each is very high, with bright and bold color choices and include some very realistic looking bugs as well as some interesting, pretty buttons.

With so many games included, it is hard to touch upon each one, but topics such as letter sequencing, color sorting and pattern recognition are included, as well as traditional activities such as connect-the-dots, mazes, a matching game and a variation on three-card-monty.

Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are also explored within these games, including everything from archery to apple picking, as well as bouncing buttons falling form a truck or bug catching - both with a tap as well as the more difficult pinch - great for increasing children’s dexterity.

A few arcade-style games are included such as roach racing or a game where one tilts the device to steer butterflies to fly over hurdles.

The bugs included here are extremely realistic and may be off-putting for those truly afraid of creatures such as tarantulas or roaches, but I think all but the most sensitive of children will enjoy these games very much. The music included is also great and very different between games, including classical, jazzy music and even banjo playing.

I appreciate how most of these games do not include any sort of timer, and friendly narration is encouraging, also letting players know when mistakes are made so they can be corrected.

I did not like, however, the narration in the pinch-and-grab game, presumably that of the bug in question being picked up as the voice sounds like a Bevis or Butthead-kind of narrator, greatly taking me out of the relaxing mood the gentle music had put me in.

It is nice that each game has its own unique look, many times quite beautiful with natural surroundings, with a few noted exceptions that include dirty, distressed tiles found in factory or other industrial settings where one races roaches or sorts buttons - mini-games that not be favorites of some families as these unclean surroundings make the bugs found become vermin - not insects found in nature.

Stamps can be collected for a job well done, but it is also nice to be able to turn off the showing of scores and achievements if one chooses to, and I like that one can include visual instructions as well - good for young players when they enjoy these games by themselves.

I have a few favorite games of my own, especially collecting the colored fireflies, sorting by color, as the music included with this nighttime scene is relaxing with a little suspense thrown in in terms of the tone created by the included music.

Families will find Bugs and Buttons educational and engaging and simply a lot of fun, with a great amount of variety, making this app certainly worth checking out. I could imagine families appreciating if multiple players could collect stamps and high score information separately, just a thought for a future update.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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