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Look Again Jr. Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on January 11th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Look Again Jr. is a fun and educational universal puzzle app that children aged preschool and up will find very appealing, as will adults. This game is based on the more difficult puzzle app by the same developer, Look Again.

To play Look Again Jr. focus on the center of this screen to see the main image. Now give attention to the 12 boxes that surround the perimeter of this center image. Choose the boxes in the perimeter that correspond to the main image, understanding that specific number of matches is expected to be made, tap the center image when complete.

The comparison could be produced based, as an image of fruits and vegetables may need to be deconstructed to find the individual foods that make up this image, found in the surrounding boxes one chooses from. Building blocks may be the topic of the main image, allowing players to choose the block shapes that make up this included structure - the same idea behind the use of puzzles, both abstract as well as literal, as these puzzles are broken down, with the players needing to choose the appropriate pieces.

With 120 levels included, these puzzles touch a lot of basic information that kids are expected to learn, be it counting, color recognition or farm animals. I appreciate how players will quickly understand what is being asked of them even on harder levels without help from an adult.

It is especially nice that child narrators give prompts as well, explaining how to play each level, including how many matches need to be made. There are no written instructions given that could trip up non-readers, although the number of selections to make are listed as a number for the players' reference. Encouragement is given, and players are asked to simply try again if a mistake has been made, and I like how one can simply de-select an image with a tap as well to make changes when needed.

I really think this is a great game for kids. It helps re-enforce basic knowledge and skills, but also with focus and concentration, needed to see what one is looking to match up. These levels can may get tricky for young children, but not in a way that is frustrating as there is no timer of any kind here. It would be nice, however, to be able to tap a help button to have the right answers highlighted if a child truly feels stuck.

I do wish this game would save the level one is currently working on - a criticism of the adult version of this app, Look Again, but I am happy to say that here, one can scroll through all the levels offered looking for their place, assuming they remember what puzzle they were previously working, on without any issues of levels being locked.

I must admit, the visual style here is pleasant and gets the job done in this most fun and creative puzzle app, but graphics used here will not be the main draw for this application.

Having said this, I can tell readers that I really enjoyed playing level after level of this puzzle game. This will hold the attention of a wide range of children’s ages, including adults and the inclusion of 120 levels really packs a great deal of content within this app. I highly recommend this application to families with children as it re-enforces the basics and in general will really get kids thinking.

Sounds of the Orchestra Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 24th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Sounds of the Orchestra is a fun educational app which introduces children and adults to the instruments one may find in an orchestra. There is much to explore here including a section to "play" which includes an instrument-themed "memory" style game where the player flips over cards to find matches incorporating both the images and sounds of each instrument. There is also an informative "learn" section where you can read descriptions of these instruments as well as a "listen" section, featuring a sound board as well as a quiz to see how good your ear has become.

I especially like the way the instruments are laid out in the "learn" section as you would find in any orchestra, and are grouped into four basic sections, Percussion, Brass, Woodwinds and Strings all to be tapped. I also appreciate how you have the chance to hear classical music being played, for example using just Woodwinds, or Strings to get a feel for the basic sounds these instruments make, while being able to then tap each instrument in their section to read a concise and informative description as well.

Connoisseurs of classical music may find the sounds of the instruments from the sound board in the "learning" section less than perfect, but I think they sound good, and I have enjoyed hearing the difference between instruments like clarinet, oboe and bassoon. We enjoy playing the listening game as well. I do wonder if having the choice of listening to the same music samples for each instrument would be helpful, and I wish this option was available for times when I really want to focus on hearing differences or similarities of each instrument. I also wish the classical pieces sampled were given credit so I could tell my son what he was listening to when he asks. I find many of the pieces familiar from "Bugs Bunny" but I regret that I do not know most of their proper names. All in all, a fun an informative app that we both enjoy.