App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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I am always happy to introduce a new Sago Sago app to readers. As many know, Sago Sago is now a part of the Toca Boca family, which develops charming and colorful apps for toddlers and beyond. Their most recent app, Sago Mini Road Trip, allows children the chance to go on a road trip with their favorite orange cat, Jinga.
Young ones will appreciate being able to choose from three destinations among a larger selection of choices such as jungle or desert adventures, as well as travels to the beach, mountains, forest, or city. They also will have a chance to pack their own bags with a variety of clothing, toys, and other objects into their bottomless suitcase, adding as much or as little in the way of personal effects as there is always room in their bag - details that will make both parents as well as children smile.
When packed users may choose a car from Jinga’s garage, which is well stocked with both classic cars and unique choices for a road trip, such as a pickle, ice cream truck, sneaker, bathtub, train, or tractor - many with fun and interesting sound effects. Once a car selection is made, toss the suitcase into the trunk and Jinga into the front seat as it’s time to get a move on. I adore the simple yet utterly effective pantomime Jinga is seen making, such as looking at her watch impatiently and tapping her foot if there is a bit of hesitation when loading up the car - a universal look of displeasure associated with burning daylight before a long car ride and a terrifically relatable detail, to be sure.
The intuitiveness of this toddler app continues to be high as one simply uses a finger to drag the car forward to the right-hand side of the screen, as well as in reverse. Soon enough, children will get the hang of being able to speed across the landscapes, seen as a wide shot within this app as when a car whizzes down the road. Or they may choose to take the drive slow, allowing for a chance to enjoy the cute roadside interactive details such as goats, birds, and a turtle crossing in a more close-up, side-by-side view of the car and one’s surroundings. I am also a fan of the subtle educational element of how Jinga’s vehicle will roll forward downhill and possibly up an oncoming slope if there is enough momentum, but will need acceleration to make it up bigger hills.
There is a lot to explore and discover as children can off-road upwards to the sky, and the car can spend time being airborne if one so desires. Children will also have fun with objects such as a messy frosted cupcake to drive through, large wrapped presents and other parcels in the street, ramps that one will maneuver through or over, puddles to splash across, bumpy terrain, and other details that are utterly Sago Sago. One will also notice the carwash and gas station within their route, but I wish there was a place for Jinga to stop and get a bite to eat as well, as rode-side food stops are also pretty commonplace.
Later, when close to the destination, Jinga drives through celebratory decorations just before making it to the end of the road to meet up with the familiar Sago Sago characters seen when choosing a destination. I appreciate how from here, more specific details are included about the area one has traveled towards such as Japanese temple details as well as how the scene ends with a flash of thoughtfully stylized postcard. I admire how the vacation choices may include classic excursions such as going to the beach or camping, an urban choice (presumably Seattle) complete with included Space Needle, as well as letting children travel the world to visit both Egyptian and Latin American pyramids, and a Japanese temple.
I think Sago Min Road Trip really captures the process of this kind of adventure, as well as the excitement as one gets closer and closer to the end of their trip. Although I do wish there was more time spent driving up to and through the destination, as the change of scenery is oftentimes the most interesting part within this app. Having said this, I do appreciate how the story ends in a way that can trigger the imagination of children who can pretend what happens between these two friends whose journey has just begun in some unique and distant venues.
I can imagine, however, that some kids may want to take another Sago Sago character along for their car ride - not just Jinga all the time - as well as wishing for more screen time with the friend they are traveling to meet as seen when choosing a site to travel to. Although some details may be a little different for some of these road trips, such as the addition of a tunnel or bridge to drive over, the majority of the experiences during the travel part of this app remain the same. However, I don’t see a two or three year old having too much of an issue with this.
As with other Sago Sago apps, adults and older children will be quite fond of the witty facial expressions Jinga makes here while driving rather fast or in reverse, as well as other cheeky moments that toddlers may possibly miss. This makes Sago Mini Road Trip easy to recommend for all ages to share and enjoy.