Version Reviewed: 1.0.7
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Toonia TwinMatch, as the name may imply, is an interesting new game for children - a matching game of sorts that players old and young will find far more interesting than the typical app based on “memory” or “concentration” where one needs to flip over tiles in order to create pairs. Instead, Toonia TwinMatch is based on traditional Mahjong Solitaire where 144 tiles are laid out as well as stacked in specific ways, with free tiles in need of being paired are those that can be moved without being blocked by other tiles on either the Left or Right and Top. Likewise, top tiles need to be removed to open up tiles on lower levels.
Adults may be familiar with the vast options for Mahjong Solitaire as an online computer game or apps for adults. Likewise, instead of traditional Chinese Character tiles, Toonia TwinMatch includes bright, colorful, and stylized fruits and vegetable tiles to match, as well as a helpful light bulb that can be turned on with a tap that will identify free tiles by darkening the ones currently blocked. Pairs will faintly be highlighted as well if a player is slow to make matches, which is a nice touch.
It is important to note that Toonia TwinMatch includes in-app purchases, yet I recommend this app for its twelve free boards that children will enjoy playing. I do wish, however, that the other themes that one can select - such as animals, space, or bugs that also include more difficult levels than the “easy” boards this app has - were hidden in a Parents section because the sale of the add-ons are front-and-center, which I as a parent don’t appreciate. Typically I delete apps that advertise to my child like this, but I have not wanted to remove Toonia TwinMatch from our iPad as it has become a favorite of my boy both during longer stretches of screen time as well as the “hurry up and wait” moments of our lives when he has his shoes on and is ready to go but it will be just another five minutes before we can leave the house.
Toonia TwinMatch is an app that I did not introduce to my son. He found it on his own, and I am impressed by how focused he is when he is playing. While sitting with him, I noted that having never been formally introduced to the rules of this game, he tried to match tiles that were blocked on one or both sides and because of this are not free. Instead he was gently notified with a sound effect, which let him know that he needed to try again.
Although he has been finishing boards with the trial-and-error approach of someone not fully versed in the regulations of the game that he is playing, taking a minute to explain game play was all that was needed to help my son along. I see many benefits to Toonia TwinMatch and other digital versions of Mahjong Solitaire as one does not need to stack the tiles in a precise fashion or have the temptation to cheat by moving around or peaking under stacked tiles. Strategy is needed to open up the board to allow for more pairs as well as being great for visual memory and eye tracking as one peruses the tiles looking for mates.
After having seen the ads for more levels, my son has asked me to purchase more levels as in-app purchases. I definitely see spending time on Toonia TwinMatch as time well spent as this app is certainly a quiet and cerebral game, but I don’t like it when my child begs me to buy him things - be it toys, treats, or different levels to apps he already has. I really do wish these different themes were hidden from the view of children for this reason, so it is a real compliment to the polish of Toonia TwinMatch that I still recommend this app as a very nice puzzle game that adults will find themselves playing alongside their children.