Astro Nora by Julie Ward

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.

Wee Puzzles by Wee Taps

Wee Puzzles by Wee Taps is a puzzle app. The app has over 50 puzzles in about 8 categories. At least for me it is the first time that I have played a puzzle game where not all the spaces and pieces are visible at the beginning of play. Every time you cover a piece another space is shown as well as another piece to fill in a space. At the completion of the particular puzzle a fun animation is played.

Overall a great app. Beautiful illustration, and abundant puzzles choices. For those that have not bought a puzzle app for their younger children this one will fit the group nicely. For the current price of $.99 US there are very few better choices.

I tested the app on the iPhone and a free copy of the app was provided for review by the publisher. I couldn’t find an Android version and it is available in the Apple App store for $0.99. Works offline and I couldn’t find an in-app store in the version I played with.

My Town: Home by My Town Games

My Town: Home by My Town Games allows children to explore the inside of a house. The virtual house is filled with intractable items. Almost everything that you can see can be played with.

From blocks, to a ball, to a slinky. You can open and close doors to not only cupboards and closets but also to the oven, microwave and the fridge. As you can see the in picture you can play with the fish tank and even a remote control helicopter.

There is also a mini game where you collect hearts as you find them. I believe you receive a gift after you find all the hearts.

Overall a great game and at the price of free parents with children in the appropriate age range should download and give it a try.

Available in the Google Play and Apple App Store. It is now free. I reviewed the Android version at the request of the publisher.

Ronnie Robot by Silver Bay Labs

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.

Moon Tunes by Wee Taps

Moon Tunes by Wee Taps is a music player for smaller children. The app consists of at least two scenes (or music players). Each music player has a tray of music items that can be dragged onto the scene to play that particular song. It comes with a few songs and as a parent you can associate any of the music items with songs in your library. There are also special effects that the child can touch as the music is playing.

The app is beautiful. Beautiful bright colors, nicely done illustrations and great sounds effects. It should help younger children learn one to one relationship (a building block for more advance math skills).

As far as dislike I only have one, I wish it didn’t display the extra purchasable scene in the main screen selection area. Technically it is a gift for people who have purchased their other game , but small kids might not understand why they can’t use the rocket player and parents might not want to buy an extra game just for that scene.

Overall another great app from the people at Wee Taps (my daughter still plays Wee Subs). Available in the Apple App store for $1.99. I reviewed it on my iPad and was provided a few copy by the publisher. No android version. Works perfectly fine without internet connection.

My Alphabet: Underwater ABC for Kids by brightblue apps

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.

Sago Mini Monsters by Sago Sago

We loved the last app from Sago Sago that we reviewed. Today we are reviewing Sago Mini Monsters.

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.

I reviewed the iPhone version. It is now free on the App Store. It is also available for .99 on the Amazon App Store.

Labo Pebble Art by Labo Lado Inc.

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.

The app is only available for in the Apple App Store for $2.99. I received a free version from the publisher.

Works Offline. No ads. No in-app store.

nester by Mindquake

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.

Duh! Brazil by duhbooks

I always find it amazing the quality of e-books available at very affordable prices. Duh! Brazil by duhbooks is no exception. Pages filled with great information about Brazil. About its geography, people, fauna, history, and so much more. I loved the illustrations, the photos, and the interactive elements.

As far as dislike. In our house we frown on the use of the word “crazy”. Unfortunately this book uses it in the first page to discuss the enthusiasm of soccer fans. So many other words could have been used to convey this, it is unfortunate that “crazy” was used (but does offer a teaching moment).

The book is only available in the Apple store. I challenge you to find a book in your local or chain bookstore with this much content and information for $3.99, much less at the current price of free.