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.

Numerosity By ThoughtBox

Every app wants to be a rock star, Numerosity by ThoughtBox comes up close. It is amazing how an educational math app that is simple is also very entertaining. Basically the app (like many reviewed here) consist of answering math equations. The difference in this app is the pacing.

The pacing is fast. The app encourages you to answer the questions as fast as you can (with both visual cues and audio cues). The math for me (a grown man) is not very challenging, but I found myself playing the game level after level.

The graphics are simple but above average. The sound effects are great. Although I loved the music, I can see how it would become irritating after a while. The app does have an in-app store to buy more chapters, but you can buy them all for $5.99. It has enough content in the free version to make sure that your kids will like it. Overall a great addictive math game.

I played it on my full size iPad (provided by the publisher). It is only available on the Apple App Store.

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.

iTooch Elementary School by eduPad Inc.

iTooch Elementary School app is a typical question and answer study aid for elementary students with an interesting twist.

The questions are very nicely written and presented. They are also clearly worded and easy to see. The questions are not all words and multiple choices. Some of the questions have pictures, graphs and other elements. Some of the elements even zoom when clicked. And some of them are answered by typing, and underlining.

You are able to pick particular topics out-of-order (as seen on the screenshots). The app keeps track of the students progress and all the questions have an info screen to provide you with detail about how to solve the problem. The actual app is free, but each of the subjects cost around $4.99. Fortunately all the current content allows you to try a few lessons before you buy.

And now for the twist. As an educator you are able to create content that will show up in the in-app store of the app. The educator creates the content using an online content creation tool (which I didn’t try). Then the profits of any sales of the particular book is shared with the content creator. This technically allows educators with neither the resources or knowledge to create apps to distribute content for a profit.

As usual my review would not be complete without my gripes. The questions are not read, so children that have not mastered reading but should be able to answer the question will need the questions read. Also I couldn’t find a way to handle multiple students other than resetting the entire app. When you reset the app, the score and progress is erased. This is problematic in households with more than one child in grade school and not one device per child. Hopefully these items are oversight on my part, and are existing (but well hidden) features of the app. Also I find it interesting that a Windows 8 version exists, but none for Android devices.

Overall the app is fantastic, and recommended as a study aid for students in grade school. I tested the free iOS version both on my iPad and iPhone.

Monster Physics by Dan Russell-Pinson

Dan Russell-Pinson’s apps are always a hit in our house. This one is no different. For my three children every single empty moment for the last few days has been filled either trying to solve the missions or making creations.

There are two main activity in the game. All activities consists of using parts. In missions you use the parts to solve a physics or design problem. The second activity consists of using the parts to create whatever you can imagine. All the parts of the game obey the laws of physics. The parts are also very varied: monsters, turbine, wings and many other items. You can also modify some of the parameters of the world or of the parts. For example you can change the speed at which a wheel turns or even the level of gravity that is applied to your world. A lot of the parts are interactive.

Each child gets the opportunity to create his or her profile. The progress and the machines they create are also stored on that particular profile.

Absolutely great game. I didn’t have any complaints and the kids have played countless hours since we purchased it a few weeks back. My oldest daughter doesn’t like the restriction of 50 pieces total for her invention (not sure what she is trying to construct with more than 50 pieces).

As usual the graphics are average but colorful and quirky. It also has decent sound effects. I reviewed the iPad version, and sorry no version exist for Android.

Math vs. Aliens Roger Purcell

Math vs. Aliens is another math fact game. The game play is fairly simple. At the top of the screen you are presented with a math problem for a particular animal. You then have to tap as many of those animals to answer the math problem correctly. Parents that are looking for an app to practice math facts might find the animal matching aspect distracting.

Although the game is called Math vs Aliens, I am not sure how the story relates to the primary activity, but to be honest I didn’t bother reading the story line at the start of the game.

I liked the game, but there were a couple of annoying aspects. On my Android tablet the pictures for the animals looked blurry. I don’t know if the game is only intended for lower resolution Android phones, or that is how it looks on all devices. Also when closing the game, I can continue to hear the background music for the game. Again this is a common problem with other Android apps, but it should be easy to correct it.

Overall a good game. I tested the Play version on my Android tablet. An iPhone version also exists.

Splash Math Grade 3 by Study Pad, Inc.

Splash Math Grade 3 is an impressive app (both in scope and execution). The app covers more concepts than I can possibly review here, but the Study Pad site includes the entire list of items covered.

The main portion of the app is a set of questions that you can answer by clicking at the correct answer. This same concept is used for both practicing the concepts and testing the concepts. The app also has other areas like the aquarium where the student can buy fishes and crabs with the points that he/she won by completing the lessons. The concepts are taught adequately and with visual aide where appropriate. The app tracks progress, and can send reports.

The rest of the app is also very well done. The graphics are a combination of illustrations and what appear to be pictures of Origami animals. And the sound effects are not jarring.

Although the app is designed for third grade, it could be used for student at the end of second grade. And it can be also used in 4th to learn and practice a student’s weaknesses.

Overall a great app and a great study partner for a student in 3rd grade. Highly recommended. Study Pad, Inc makes similar apps for other grades. All apps are available for the iPhone and iPad (unfortunately no Android version). I tested on the iPad (provided for free by the publisher).

Compare A Twist by App of Approval, LLC

Compare A Twist is a study aid app. The game play consists of dragging items (either pictures or words) to the appropriate category. The set of items and the categories that go with those items is considered a lesson.

The game comes with a set of pre-made lessons, but the power of the app is in the ability to create your own lessons. Lessons could be created, saved and loaded from Google docs. The results of the lessons can be mailed. The report includes data like how many of the items were answered correctly and on what attempt. Teachers, parents and educators can create a generic Google account were they post the lessons and then the students can retrieve the lessons and send back the results.

The graphics are simple but adequate. The app provides audio and visual feedback when you select the appropriate category and when you don’t. When running a lesson you can also select the type of bucket (2 are available) to drop the items into.

I wish the app had the ability to create more than two categories. I can think of many lessons where more than 2 categories would be helpful. The Google log-in screen also does not have a back button. On two occasions, I ended up being stuck in the Google pages without being able to return to the app (had to quit and restart). I also wish the lesson report was in non-editable PDF format instead of text.

A very solid app. I reviewed the iPad version (provided by the publisher). I didn’t find an Android version.