Fantasy Music Box Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 1st, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Fantasy Music Box is an interesting universal music app that brings to children the relaxing sounds of classical music with a wonderful sense of style.

I love the look of this app, incorporating wonderful Victorian music box elements which include the wonderfully choppy articulation that one would expect from a wind-up music box of this time, also including the clicking and whirring sounds which really bring these scenes to life with a nice level of realism to this application.

I especially enjoy the main screen used to select individual scenes, complete with dramatic shadows of gears seen off screen, as well as other characters silhouetted, moving along on a conveyer belt which conjures up moody images of the Industrial Revolution as well as including nice steam punk elements. The scene selection consists of wonderfully detailed gears and levers which create new characters from undecorated models that are sprayed and dressed in a way that I find quite captivating - more so even than the main musical areas of this application.

Five scenes are included with their own distinct look while maintaining a period theme, each lovely with a nice focus on details from a ballroom scene, beautiful fairies charmingly help up by wires as if in flight, or a winter scene consisting of dancing soldiers protecting a distant castle.

Interactive hotspots are included throughout these music scenes, but they are minor elements which do not truly interact with the movements of the articulated characters - a detail that I have mixed feelings about as this does bring an added sense of realism as these music boxes were solely intended for looking at, but I think children would appreciate a little more interaction if this is their expectation.

It is, however, very nice that one can go from day to night or back again with the tap of the sun or moon seen on the top of the screen, changing the music that is being played to one of two selection per vignette. The included music also sound very good on our devices, reminiscent of the metallic sounds heard from a traditional period music box.

It is a shame that although iTunes does list the famous composers whose music can be found within this app, such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky or Strauss, the individual information about each song giving proper credit is not included - unfortunate as parents who may be familiar with these pieces of music such as moments from The Nutcracker may not know for sure the name of a specific piece of music or the composer a child is asking about, and there is no reason why this information can’t be readily available.

Having said this, I do find this app both visually as well as sound-wise quite impressive. I have really enjoyed the idea of the elaborate period pop-up books translated to devices, and I am now enjoying these ornate music box scenes as well.

These selections and the included animated illustrations are indeed peaceful and relaxing, making this a very nice bedtime app. I do hope proper credit for these musical scenes can be included as well in a future update.