We love indy developers at Smart Kid’s Apps. One of the reasons this site was created was to give indy developers a platform to showcase their good educational games. Planet Lettra is just that type of app.
The app takes place in a beautiful planet where letters float in the sky. As the player you can force letters to group into words of your own making or you can just grab and drag letters around until they form words. There are also little trees/animals in the surface of the planet. Using your bubble letters or words you can interact with the trees/animals in un-expecting ways.
As for complaints I have a few. I wish the voices were human (not an easy task for an indy developer). I love the video and the poem about the planet. I just wish that the words of the poem were written out somewhere where a child could follow along.
The app is available in the Apple app store for $1.99. I couldn’t find an Android version. Doesn’t require internet, doesn’t have ads and doesn’t have an in-app store.
I have to be honest; I know my addition. The game play although initially appears to be repetitive somehow is addicting. I am a middle age man. What am I doing playing a game intended for children from age 4 to 7?
That is exactly what happened when I picked up Astro Nora by Julie Ward. I don’t know if it is the music (which I love), the special effects (just as well done), the beautiful and quirky illustrations or that I can win tokens that I then can use to make the monster burp. All I know is that I really enjoyed this game.
The game is intended for 4 to 7 year olds. You play the part of Nora. An astronaut that apparently has lost all the pieces to her space ship. Collect the pieces from monsters by answering subtraction and addition questions. Along the way you can also jump on platforms and collect coins (not sure what they are for). You also collect burp tokens that you can use on another screen to make the monster burp.
Overall I loved it. My only issue was that on my old iPad 2 at times it would stall between scene transitions.
Available on Apple App Store, I was not able to find an Android version. Works offline. No ads. No in-app store that I could find. I reviewed it on my iPad using a free code provided by the publisher.
Ronnie Robot by Silver Bay Labs is a wonderful app. An open playground for smaller kids to explore and interactive with. The main character is an ant robot that you can drag around to ride vehicles, enter buildings, stop fires, and other activities. The app also has a plethora of vehicles that can be used and interact with including a fire engine truck, a tow truck, and a fireworks truck.
The graphics, animations and sound effects are all beautiful and well thought out. It is one of the best apps we have reviewed this year. Since it is available for Free there is really no reason not to try it out.
As far as dislikes I can only think of one. It is to easy for a small child to leave the main game screen. It would be nice if that particular button had a delay before it activated the transition.
Not only is main game well thought out but other aspect of the app are also well designed. The in-app store for extra content protected so only parents get into it. Individual toggles for sound effects and music. Clear and human understandable privacy notice. The developers are also members of the wonderful Mom with Apps group.
I tested the app on my iPad (prompted by the publisher). No Android version exists and the app does not run on the iPhone. It works great offline. It doesn’t have ads. It is available for Free in the Apple App store.
My daughter absolutely hates educational games. She looked at My Alphabet by brightblue apps and said it looked awful and boring. My Alphabet is an educational app that teaches children the letters of the alphabet with a series of interesting mini games.
Some of the activities the app includes are puzzle letters (pieces of letters have to come together), letter puzzles, selecting the correct letter after it is sounded out, and an activity where children have to correctly guess the missing letter in a sequence (my least favorite activity).
The graphics and sound effects are great. The music is ok at first, but gets repetitive. Other than that minor issue, my only other issue with the game is with the tracing activity. With no clear instruction my daughter was coloring the letters in and not tracing them.
My Alphabet is a wonderful and well thought out educational game. As for my daughter, she played this “awful” game for over thirty minutes and actually enjoyed it.
It is available on the Apple App Store for $1.99. I reviewed it on my iPhone. The publisher provided me with a free copy. Does not need internet, no in-app store and no advertisement. It does have an other game button and a protected parent section.
This time your kids get the change to create their own monsters. You start by coloring in a shape that comes up from the swamp. Plenty of eyes, horns and colors to choose from. Once your monster is created you can feed him, brush his teeth and snap pictures.
The app also includes an informational parent section to help parents play with their children and a catalog of other Sago Sago and Toca Boca apps. No internet required, no in-app store and no ads.
The illustration, music and special effects are all great.
Math Slicer Free by Tumbstorm is a fruit ninja clone with a math educational twist. In this version you use your fingers to cut the numbers that match the answers to equations displayed in the background. By playing the game you win eggs that you can use to unlock other levels, slices and even power ups. You can also buy more eggs if you don’t have enough for the items you want. The music, sound effects and graphics are ok. The animation when you slice a piece of fruit is very good.
Overall the concept is great. Taking a familiar and popular game and making it into an education game is a great idea. I really tried to love the game but I struggled with what star rating to give it. First on the Kindle Fire that I tested it on, the slicing of the numbers is awkward. After a few minutes of playing, I got the hang of it (smaller children might get frustrated). I didn’t have the same issue with the Google Play version. Also for some reason the Amazon Kindle version is not recognized by Amazon Free Time as a valid educational app.
Although the issue above is annoying, my biggest issue is with the egg in-app store. Small children might end up buying eggs for real money. There is no mechanism to stop small children from buying eggs. The paid version removes the ad banner but retains the in-app store.
Dismonster places your child behind the eyes of an investigator. The first person game has you walking around rooms and finding scary shadows. The shadows disappear (explode) when you cover the shadow with the item or items that produced the shadow (as in a jig-saw-puzzle). At first these shadows are made of one object, but quickly turn into scarier shadows that consist of more than one object.
The game play, graphics, music and sounds are great. It should be mentioned that part of the game play consist of rotating the objects to match part of the shadow outline. This might be to difficult for smaller kids.
Overall a great game. My only wish is that it had an easy mode where smaller children did not have to rotate the items.
Dadadugames is very kid friendly game. No ads, no in app store and follows the very strict MomsWithApps standard. The app will be available on November 18. I reviewed the pre-release version on my iPhone.
So I lost my test device. I made the mistake of asking my youngest daughter to take a look at Labo Pebble Art and tell me what she thought about it. And that was it, the iPhone was gone. She would bring it back only to show me her lovely creations and to take screen captures.
The app is brilliant and kept my daughter entertained for hours. It allowed her to reproduce a bunch of her favorite stuffed animals and then play with them in a game. The initial activities consist of creating the selected animal or thing by using rocks (basically a puzzle where the outline is already visible). Once the puzzle has been completed the child can color it and/or use it in the activity designed for that item. Any design or pattern done while coloring will remain while playing the activity. Some of these activities include making music, helping with motor skills and matching games. There are a ton of little details that you only notice the more you play. Overall a great app.
As for as gripes I only have one and the rest of the game is so well executed that it doesn’t really matter. For a game this creative it seems that some of the music was an after thought. My daughter asked to turn it off after just a few minutes of play, and my wife said it sounded like awful elevator music.
nester by Mindquake is an Android kids’ launcher. I remember a few year ago, when I was looking for a kids’ launcher, it seemed that I had very few choices. I downloaded a few and most didn’t work. Oh how things have changed in a few year. The Play store is littered with kids’ launchers. I am actually surprised that this is the first kid’s launcher that has been reviewed on this site.
Although we have not reviewed any other kids’ launcher, I really liked this one. I am not sure what others have and do not have, but nester seems to do the basics very well. It also includes very useful extras. For example not only can you set a timer (for how long the child can use the device), but you can also have a period of cool down. Great for children that have a problem with transitions.
As far as what you would expect of a kids’ launcher, it is all here. You are able to select the apps that are available through the launcher and as mentioned above set a time limit on device play. The parent lock is also sufficiently enough to keep most children from accidentally disabaling the launcher.
My only gripe is that for whatever reason a few options and features are not available unless you are logged into google or Facebook. Other than that it is a beautiful launcher with all the features you would expect and some that are unique and very useful.
The app doesn’t have any in app store or ads. Available on Google Play for free.
I loved the illustrations, they are quirky and interesting. I also loved the ability to experience the app using a few different characters (although one in particular was my favorite). Like their earlier effort there is a lot more to the app. Almost everything is touchable and can be interacted with.
Unlike the first app, this app is free. The app does have an in-app store that sells expansion packs. The store is protected with a birth year challenge which should keep most children from getting things accidentally.
Overall a great app. Highly recommended. And since it is free, you have very little to lose. My only small gripe is the in-app store, but unfortunately it is currently the only way to generate meaningful revenue.