Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Fans of storytelling and animation should take notice of the app Pillowcapers: A Sleepy Adventure - an interactive storybook that is superlative in every way. This is the story of Sam, who recently had a birthday and received the sole present of a striped pillowcase. Little did he know that this pillowcase would be the key to his new life as a superhero where, when using the case as a cape, he will try to save the world; or at least his neighborhood. I actually find this app hard to write about because it simply needs to be seen. No words committed to the screen will do this justice as the colorful, stylized app includes simply wondrous animation that fully explores Sam’s transformation to superhero and fighting giant robots to save his community. This app is part amusing procedural as it walks one through the costumes and other preparations needed for hero-dom. The pillow triggers a secrete trap door where Sam, transforming into his new uniform, is led to an area where he receives his crime-fighting orders from a unique book, thus beginning his epic adventure.
It feels a little awkward for me to talk about camera placement in dealing with animation, but this perspective of what the reader sees as if looking through a camera is highly creative, creating dynamic moments children and their adults will need to see a few times to fully grasp everything that they have viewed in this wonderfully crafted storybook. Mild yet effective animated moments are also triggers as interruptions found throughout this app, which add to the richness of this story. But the use of epic animation, which takes place much like watching a video in parts, really makes this app stand out within a sea of other storybooks within iTunes. The sheer amount of work that must have gone into its production is impressive, the musical score used rivals that of anything heard from a Hollywood feature, and the story itself is impressively written. I make note of this as I typically am not a fan of stories that rhyme, but here the style of writing reminds me of the meter from T'was the Night Before Christmas or even some of Dr. Seuss. This novel way of writing also includes a lot of humor as the rhyme is dropped oftentimes for an unmatched ironic line that adds wit as well as prevents the writing from being too structured or dated.
Instead, there is an almost period 1950s movie delivery going on that I find quite appealing. I do so appreciate how this story creates in some ways more questions than answers as to why Sam was chosen to fight against these robots, the superhero lair under the city allowing children to use their own imaginations to fill in these blanks, as well as a subtle maturity that Sam expresses when he receives nothing but a pillowcase as a present; showing some confusion but never disappointment in a way that would offend the giver of this odd gift. Even the page turns are unique as one drags a page from the right side of the screen to the left. Here, the pages take on a viscous, fluid look that may bend into the screen as a hint to turn the page, called “elastic transitions,” making even something as simple as turning the page become an interesting transition from one page to the next. This app can be read by oneself, but I really enjoy listening to the perfect radio voice of the narrator, complete with word highlighting as well as an options page that's protected from accidentally being opened. This app also includes the ability to view this tale via auto-play and the chance to silence or turn off every element of this app such as sound effects, music, or word highlighting independently as well as a menu of pages and even character bios.
I have no notes for these developers to help make improvements as this app is perfectly realized in every way. I only hope it is not too long a wait before the next installment of Pillowcapers is released. A teaser attached to the end of this app makes me excited to meet the new character starring in the next of these storybooks.