Version Reviewed: 1.0.4
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
After reviewing almost eight hundred applications for GiggleApps over the years, there are times that I can tell just from watching a teaser video that an app is something quite special. Thinkrolls by AVOKIDDO certainly fits into this category, being a physics game with platformer elements that players of many ages will find quite captivating. Thinkrolls consists of colorful and stylish mazes that different ball-like characters roll through from the top of the maze and out the bottom, using the gravity from the drops within these puzzles to propel these characters forward.
A complex app with many levels, Thinkrolls starts out simply enough where there are no wrong answers as one navigates within these puzzles, coming across cookies serving as road blocks that need to be gobbled with a tap. Slowly, the challenges of this app will sneak up on users as they find that they have positioned their character to fall into a dead end with no recourse. In times like this, children will make use of the redo button found at the top of the screen to try again.
Over time, children will also be introduced to other obstacles or elements used to teach different theories about physics, all with their own dedicated chapters such as crates that one needs to move into position to benefit his roller - be it simply by moving them out of the way, closing up a hole to avoid getting stuck, or using them like stairs. Players will also come across balloons that serve as road blocks and need to be gotten rid of. To do so, they need to be dragged to open areas for them to rise up into waiting spikes that will pop them. Rocks are also introduced, which are used to smash through maze areas seen with cracked floors and then vanish without creating their own barricades. Jelly areas are included, which characters need to bounce off to save them from being trapped in lower areas of these mazes. Later on fire is added, with ice being a player's only recourse to extinguish the flames and allowing them to play through. Lastly, children are introduced to elevators that can be raised or lowered to different areas of these mazes - an element that introduces the need for some arcade-like reflexes. Best of all is when multiple objects are combined within one puzzle, asking children to move up to seven moves ahead, sometimes in a precise order to set the board up in such as way that allows the character to roll through successfully.
Thinkrolls is a meaty app with 180 puzzles between the two different levels of difficulty spread over seven chapters, and there are eighteen different characters to unlock. Two different levels of difficulty are included that make Thinkrolls an excellent choice for children from three to eight and beyond. I would like to give the developers at AVOKIDDO a lot of credit for including a thorough section detailing the different objects one will have to interact with and the skills that one learns while exploring this app beyond the obvious logic and reasoning, boosting fine motor abilities, focus, and concentration.
Also of great note is what this app does not include, as it is devoid of stickers, badges, and congratulatory cheers that a lesser app would include as a reward for completing different levels - proof, I hope, to other developers that only compelling game play is needed to keep the interest of those using an application. Mistakes will happen that will require children to repeat a level, and I also really appreciate how low-key this is treated as a simple tap of a button will allow children to try again without missing a beat.
The look of this app is bright, colorful, and full of patterns that make it as visually appealing as it is educational. I am quite fond of the subtle details of other maze elements seen in the distant background, creating an interesting sense of depth that truly adds to the richness of the experience. This is a favorite app of my son, who spends his time working on these puzzles, listening to the thoughtful use of ambient music and sound effects. Because it is so intuitive, he easily picked up the use of the included objects and enjoyed every conundrum thrown at him. Thinkrolls has actually become a family affair as my husband, after looking over my shoulder, wanted his turn testing it as well, equally enjoying this digitally kinetic experience.
I was, however, surprised at the lack of conclusion as I was brought back to the menu page simply to choose another chapter and puzzle to work on after completing all the levels within the difficulty level - it seems almost glitchy by nature. This may be because I did not fully unlock all eighteen characters, nor did I complete the simpler version of the game, but I do hope that some sort of animated moment or the like concludes this app for those who totally finish all aspects of Thinkrolls as it takes a lot of time and work to do so, and the lack of a satisfying ending would be a letdown to players to be sure.
Even with this note, Thinkrolls is a wonderful choice for a highly educational app that does not hit children over the head with how cerebral the experience is, making it a great choice for parents who would love to sneak something educational into their kids' game selections. Above all else, Thinkrolls is super-fun and will be a hit with kids of all ages, interests, and abilities, making it an app that I enthusiastically recommend and one that parents will feel no guilt over letting their children play over long stretches of time.