Nov 25, 2012

A is for App

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(Daddy reviews)

Like it or not, the proliferation of technology is here to stay and I would even say that it will form an increasing importance in our children's lives. I have seen kids from as young as 12 months old become seasoned swipers; not only swiping the smartphone or tablet but also swiping the device away from their parents.

As with almost all things, moderation and education is the key. So it is equally important that we choose the appropriate apps for them to play. I had previously shared what Ale's top 5 iPhone/iPad apps were and you can read it HERE.

So when Electronic Arts (EA) approached me to do a review of some of their educational apps, I saw no reason to turn them down. Especially since I knew I would have two zealous reviewers-in-waiting.

EA, who is one of the largest game developers in the world, boasts some of the world's most popular mobile titles such as The Sims, Monopoly, Scrabble, Bejeweled and many others.

And the first game that got their fingers busy was Pictureka (US$0.99), a game where the keenest eye wins. Players would essentially be instructed to find certain objects like '5 pairs of legs' or '3 fruits' which are hidden within pictures crammed with crazy cartoons. Even the wifey and I couldn't resist in trying to out-spot the hidden objects before the boys!

If devising a line of strategy whilst improving eye-hand coordination is what the kids need, you may want to check out Flight Control Rocket (which is FREE!).

A spin-off from the original Flight Control game, this one has players attempting to steer different coloured fleet to their respective docking stations aboard a mothership - by drawing a flight path. Sounds easy enough, but things start to get complicated when all too many ships start crowding the entire screen!

But the one game that had the two boys deeply engrossed was the Mystery Mania (US$0.99) game.

The premise of the game sounds intriguing enough: You're a mad scientist's charming robot creation, outsmarting man-eating plants and building ingenious contraptions as you explore bizarre rooms full of unsolved riddles. Guzzle strange potions, diffuse laser beams and battle angry creatures on your quest to discover why you were created. Who is the mysterious boy you keep running into? Can you escape the mansion in one piece? Solve the mysteries of the mansion!

Mystery Mania is a puzzle game at heart, and is a point-and-click adventure where you must direct the robot to interact with objects and environments in 27 different rooms. In every room you'll need to solve a puzzle before you can go any further. Move this box, use the magnet, distract that dog with meat – it's the type of trial and error, item-combining puzzles that had both Ash and Ayd hooked from the very first room.

At the time of review, they are about halfway through the mansion. I have half the mind to aid them in deciphering all the puzzles in one sitting but they wouldn't hear of it. So I obliged, albeit begrudgingly.

This is an outrageously clever game that is loaded with great personality. It has a tight story with some brilliantly fun puzzles that can't help but make you smile. When you figure the puzzles out eventually, that is. Overall, great game for kids as they will no doubt be kept entertained while giving those brains a good workout at the same time.

Thanks once again, to Electronic Arts! For a whole lot more of mobile games, check out the entire catalogue at

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