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.

Bird Launcher by RV AppStudios

Bird Launcher is a puzzle app where you launch a bird further and further upward until it reaches the nest. There are plenty of game upgrades and bird power-ups that you can get with coins. The coins can be either won through in-game play or purchased for real money.

The graphic are nicely done but nothing special, and the music is tolerable in small amounts (at least you can turn it off). The default bird is acceptable, and you are able to get free coins by posting on twitter, Facebook and other public forums.

What age group or grade would this be appropriate for? Not sure. If you forget about the in app purchases, very small kids could probably get entertained by launching the bird, and learn very little. But it also has in app advertising for their other apps, and some of those might be a little scary for younger kids (One has severed finger).

For older kids the puzzle appear to be fairly easy until they get extremely frustrating for no reason (probably to encourage in app purchases).

If you collect puzzle apps, like birds, and don’t mind spending real money for upgrades (for a different bird or a different background) this one might be one for you. Available for iPhone, Android, Nook, and Kindle Fire. I played the iPad version.

Scribblenauts Remix

Immersed in virtual world you create objects to solve puzzles: need a rope to get a star, type the word rope and it appears. As the level progress, the objects you need to type and the puzzles get harder and harder. It was a great game on the Nintendo DS, and it made the transition to iOS devices beautifully. It is also a fraction of the cost of the Nintendo DS game.

Although targeted to children that can spell, it also has playgrounds that younger children with a help of an adult can create objects to play with. The publisher continues to update the app with different playgrounds. The latest involves a classroom for the back to school season.

Only complaint I have heard from my daughter: limited selection of girl players and you have to buy them. I would also love to see it for Android devices.

It is a spelling puzzle game that my kids enjoy playing again and again again.

Available only on Apple App Store for .99.


Minecraft – Pocket Edition

In creative mode you can build anything you want out of blocks. In survival mode there are animals, zombies, and mummies and you try to survive.

You can build anything you want, there is no limit. You can go into the same world as other people and build with them.

I wish that you could customize your character and that you can see people connected to a different wifi.


Additional Notes from AJG:

Allows you to build structures of any sizes. Houses, Tunnels and basically anything else you can imagine in a 3D world.

Other than the educational building aspects (think of Lego blocks), some school districts (at least in North Carolina) are using the full version as a way for children to build items that they plan and design.

Available on Play and the Apple App Store for $6.99.

Pet Shop Story

Build a pet store, vist other people’s pet stores, and create your own breeds.

From the amount of time that the kids spend on the app, I suspect it is fairly addictive. Better than average graphics and cute sounds.

Requires internet access, sends notification of things that are happening in your store, and tries to push your kids to purchase in-game items (with real cash). None of this seems to hinder the fun factor.

Available on Apple App Store for iOS devices and on Google Play for Android devices. (Reviewed on Android).

Although the game is fun it has limited educational value, and the constant push to pay with real world money might be frustrating for some kids.