Mathos by Shanush Prema Thasarathan

Mathos by Shanush Perma Thasarathan is a math drill and a casual math game app. The beautifully designed interface is extremely clean and colorful. The game play is straight forward and addictive. Each level consist of answering equations correctly. The placement of the number keypad changes randomly for each equation, and to unlock the next level you need to correctly answer a certain numbers of equations before the time runs out.

Overall a good app. It does have an in-app store, but non of the items are consumable (the most you can spend on the app is now around $4.00). One of the in-app purchases is to remove the ads, but interesting enough I didn’t see any ads while I was playing. No interstitial and no banner ads.

I struggled with what rating to give this app. It would be simple if this was a general app review blog, but it is a children educational app blog. With some child protection for the in-app store and with age proper ads, it is a solid 4 according to our internal rating system. If those ads that we didn’t see are gambling, dating and/or any other non-child friendly category we would have not reviewed the app. In the end, I chose to review it for what I actually saw, but parents should be aware that the content of the store can change and that I didn’t see any ads. We recieved confirmation from the publisher that only children appropiate ads are shown.

I tested it on my iPhone at the request of the publisher. It is available in the Apple App store for free. I couldn’t find any versions for Android. It works fine without internet.

Sago Mini Forest Flyer by Sago Sago

Sago Mini Forest Flyer by Sago Sago is a completely opened ended exploring game for the iOS devices.

My 6 year loves it. She takes controls the little bird and flies around discovering new places for the bird to play with. The places that have interaction are clearly marked as you fly by them.

The illustration, sound, music and animations are all engaging, beautiful and very well done. A beautiful app that everybody should consider downloading.

I played it on my iPhone. The app is only available in the Apple App store. I received a free copy from the publisher. The app does not have any advertisements or in-store store. It works offline.

World Zoo Uncaged by Valarmabash!

World Zoo Uncaged by Valarmabash is an incredibly unique app. As the title suggests, it is a world zoo. A couple dozen animals are available to be selected. Once selected you can hear the names of the animal in 50+ languages as spoken in a particular country or region (it might be more than 100 but I didn’t count). You can also zoom around a world Atlas as native speakers pronounce in their language the name of their country.

Some other activities are also available. Touching the sun on the introductory screen allows you to cycle through what I assume are the greetings in all the countries in the app. There is also a flag quiz where you try to guess the country that the presented flag belongs to.

Another interesting feature of the app is that if your language isn’t represented in the app, you can record and send your translation to the author. And apparently he will merge it into the next version of the app.

Now for the issues I had (and most of these might be related to the device used to test). The app for me would crash after 10 minutes of playing, and then take an awful long time to launch. The button used to pronounce the particular animal can be double touched, resulting in unpleasant pronunciations.

For this review, the publisher provided the app for free. According to the information received the app will be available Dec 17 only on the Apple App store. From the documentation I received there will be a free version with in app store and a paid version with all the items unlocked. I am not clear on what the pricing would be.

Overall a very unique, entertaining and educational app for everyone.

Toca Hair Salon 2 by Toca Boca

After our summer hiatus, what would be better than to start with a review of a Toca Boca app. Toca Hair Salon is yet again a beautifully executed app that will delight children young and old.

In this app you are a head dresser. In a usual Toca Boca fashion the game play is completely open-ended. You pick your victim and then have an arrangement of tools to make him/her look beautiful. Don’t worry if you make a mistake cutting, there is even a tool to magically grow your subjects hair back.

The illustrations are quirky and the arrangement of tools are enough to keep your young ones entertained for hours. The sounds that the participants make at time are odd, but not at all distracting to the game play.

I tested the Play version which I received for free. Versions on the Amazon store and iOS also exist.

Fibble HD by Crytek

We have reviewed plenty in the past, but sometimes I question the educational value of some puzzle apps. I can understand the need to teach children reflexes and spacial problem solving, but how many of these apps do you need clogging up your phone or tablet. In Fibble HD by Crytek Gmbh you fling the main character (similar to the angry series) to complete stages that remind me of miniature golf.

The game has great illustrations and is beautifully animated. The music is interesting, unique and doesn’t get annoying as quickly as some others would. Unlike the 2D worlds of most puzzle games, this one has a beautifully rendered 3D world. Also the story is advanced by little movies in-between the levels.You can also tilt and roll your ipad to help the little one land in the hole.

Overall a very gentil and enjoyable game. A easy upgrade for some of the more popular puzzle games out there.

I played it on my full size iPad. It is available in the Apple App store and the Google Play store for .99 cents. It works fine offline and does have a in-app store. I received my copy for free.

Save The Last Drop by Gregory Roumanis

Save The Last Drop bills itself as an educational and entertaining game. The key word is “and”.

The educational part of the app is only remotely connected to the game part. The educational part of the app consists of facts being presented over a static background. Since the facts are not read, for younger plays these facts will need to be read by an adult or older child.

The game part of the app consists of water droplets that drop from the the top of screen. You need to tap them before they reach the bottom. There is little variation on the game, but it is mindless fun, and it can be played by almost anybody.

Sadly I wish that the educational part of the app played a role in the game part of the app.

The education app is free, the water conservation facts are interesting, and the game is one of those mindless addictive/repetitive games. Give it a try, and then delete it if you need the space for something else.

I tested it on my Blackberry Playbook. Available in the BlackBerry App World. I couldn’t find a Android or IOS version.

Geometry Quest by Bugaboo Math Games For Kids

Since I have not reviewed many educational Geometry apps, I was excited when the publisher Bugaboo requested that I review this app. Geometry Quest does not disappoints. In this app, you get the opportunity to travel around the world. Each city has a set of geometry questions that you need to answer to be able to travel to another part of the world (and another city). In order to be able to visit a country you need to have a passport. You start the game with 3 passports. You lose a passport every time you miss a question. If you lose all your passports you are not able to travel to the next part of the world. As you enter each part of the world you are presented with some pictures from that area.

The app is very well done. The questions and answers are clear, and the app provides hints if you get the answer incorrect with your first try.

Now for the things I didn’t like. On one of the devices I tested it, it would take a very long time to load the scene picture after selecting a place on the map. It took so long that initially I thought the app was frozen. Although the tablet is not state of the art by todays standards, it still is fairly fast (dual core, 1 gig ram). I understand the problem of trying to support many android devices, but as a consumer it is hard to pay for an app that might not work on a device. At least there is a free version. I also wish the app supported landscape view for all its screens. As it is now, some screen flip to landscape and other don’t. And lastly I wish it supported multiple users, and provided some description of what the particular lesson is about.

Overall a very good app. I tested the Android free version as prompted by the publisher. It is available on Google Play, the Android App Store, and the Barnes and Noble store for the Nook.

I Spy with Lola by BeiZ Ltd.

I have played I spy with my children on long road trips. I Spy with Lola is not exactly that game, but it is a lot of fun. Lola the panda travels from place to place around the world. By clicking on a place you enter a scene where you are prompted to find particular items. You find the items by clicking on them in the screen. The scenes are larger than the width of the device screen, so you have to scroll to find the items. Completing scenes allows you to collect stars that are used to unlock other parts of the world.

Overall the graphs and animations look great. The music is catchy (but maybe annoying in the long run). My children loved the game including the oldest (who is 11).

An easy game to love. Great graphics, catchy music, and varied scenes and object placements make this an entertaining game.

Available for the iOS devices (iPad and iPhone) and Android devices (both on Play and Amazon App Store), I reviewed the iOS version on my full size iPad. The publisher provided the app.

Smash Your Food by Food N’ Me

Wouldn’t it be fun to smash a donut? Would you allow your children to smash foods if it didn’t involve a mess, didn’t waste food, and provided educational facts about the foods we eat?

Smash Your Food attempts to do just that. The game is fairly simple. You guess what the sugar, fat and salt content of a particular food item is, and then you use your finger to push down a metal plate onto the food. You can do it quickly or slowly. You get stars and carrots depending on how close you get to the real numbers or for doing certain activities in the game. These carrots and stars are then used to unlock other parts of the game. Each grouping of foods are stored in a fridge, and you need a set number of carrots to open the fridge.

The game also has health tips for the children, and for the parents about eating and making foods healthier.

The game elements are clean and well done. I found the fruit characters funny, but I can see how some might find them annoying (especially the sounds they make).

Sadly although I loved most of the app, I just couldn’t get past the idea that I had to purchase (with real money) carrots to continue. I understand that in-app purchases is one of the few mechanism to make money from an app, but an app that asks the age of the player and then prompts underage children to purchase carrots seems inappropriate. I would have been happier if I could purchase all the fridges for a set price, be it $2, $4 or even $5. Then I can hand over the game to my children and not worry about what the app will end up costing me.

If you can live with the in-app purchasing, then it is a fantastic app. Otherwise I would consider getting the fixed priced iPad version.

I reviewed the iPhone version (as prompted by the publisher). No Android version exists.

Dr. Morph’s Memo By Raketspel AB

Every app store is littered with matching memory games (including one I created about a year a go). All the ones I have tried consist of flipping cards that flip back if you can’t find the matching one. Dr. Morph’s Memo is also a matching game. This app has no cards and it has no flipping. Instead of cards the app has beautiful illustrated 3D boxes that drop from above at the start of the level. Clicking on a box causes one of the animals to pop out. Matching two boxes based on the animals that temporarily pop their heads out makes the boxes disappear, the animals to jump out of the box, and increases the volume of potion in the beaker (located on the top of the screen). Once the beaker is full, you are rewarded with one extra animal to match in future rounds. The game apparently has 100 different animals to win, and then match. You also get a gallery to view the animals that you have won already.

There are also other variations to the game. There is the ability to have a time limit to complete each level, and a variation where you only get three opportunities to match the angry-looking dogs.

So up to this point I have described the game play. The rest of the game is also outstanding. The graphics are unique, quirky and above average. The music although not varied is again quirky and very catchy.

Ultimately most of the apps that are reviewed on this blog, I end up deleting from my devices. There is only so much space, and we receive so many app review requests (many don’t end up getting reviewed). This app will probably stick around for a while. I love it. I am amazed that somebody took a tried and tired concept like a memory matching game and created such a unique experience. If you are looking for a memory matching game, you can’t go wrong with this app.

The app was provided by the publisher for free, and I tested it on a full size iPad. It has no in-game purchasing, no ads, and works offline. It is available only on the Apple App Store for $2.99.