‘Tiny Fireman’ Review – Firefighters, Collaborate!

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Our first review of 2012 is ‘Tiny Fireman’ – A firefighter-themed game by Samuramu.

The most unique feature of this game is the ability to play co-op, parent and child, or two children, at the same time. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed a game session, where I drove the red truck and the little one sprinkled water everywhere.

The game takes place in Can Town, a beautifully illustrated world full of character. Can town’s inhabitants are all animals – you will meet mice, crows, giraffes, and purple teddy bears.

However, Can town’s ridden by a mysterious fire, and the player takes the role of Cat and Dog, in their voyage to rescue as many animals as they can.

The game is quite simple. Using touches and swipes, players splash water around buildings and trees (and even snowy ice cream stands) to save the helpless survivors.

While this may sound scary, the game is set up in a musical atmosphere that creates a relaxed and chilled out feel. While the missions are important, it always feels like you can spend the extra amount of time you need to play around. There is no rush.

Each successful rescue ride ends up with a special ending: a kiss from a teddy bear, and a special gift (candy, cake, a doll, and more). The gift seems to change every play, so it’s fun to wait and see what it would be.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Get Tiny Fireman on the App Store

 

Frozen: Storybook Deluxe

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My daughter asked me to download this app for her so she can play with her beloved princess. I purchased it on sale, so there was no big deal, but I was curious as to how she would play it.

Her neighbour friends showed up just as she was going to try it out, so they had to play together on the iPad, not an easy task for young children. Fortunately, she managed to share it somehow, resisting the temptation to control it all by herself.

Although they played it for some time, soon after they started I heard different tunes coming from the device and realised they abandoned it for something else. My impression is that the app does not deliver too much play value nor special challenges or interest.

Pros: Good atmosphere, fine presentation

Cons: Average performance, not too creative, cookie-cutter approach

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Tiny Driver – a physics driving game for kids

Tiny Driver, the latest game by Samuramu, seems like a strange mix between Angry Birds and Magic Schoolbus.

Tiny Driver – masterful level designs

The game takes place in an impossibly yet consistent world of snowy mountains, grassy highlands and industrial plants. The young player has to drive the car around obstacles, following a trail of signs and stars, in order to make it to the end.

Controls can’t be more intuitive, with only one gesture – a swipe, controlling the car’s few behaviours. Swipe left or right to drive, up to jump, and down to get out of messy situations when getting stuck.

Visuals are gorgeous, with clean backgrounds and levels that feature only what you really need to enjoy. You can select different cars, provided that you purchase the full game.

Tiny Driver will get your inner child heart rolling, and oh, yes, your kids should be able to enjoy it too!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Get Tiny Driver on the App Store

‘Tiny Fireman Free’ now available

For those who’ve missed our review of ‘Tiny Fireman’ or didn’t feel completely ok spending $2.99 to check the game out – there’s good news.

Samuramu’s game is now available in a free version – with the gameplay 100% functional, with 1 unlocked area. Unlocking the remaining 3 areas will cost the full app’s $2.99.

So what are we waiting for? grab Tiny Fireman Free here (App Store link).

 

‘Paint my Wings’ by Toca Boca – Review

Don’t you love it when you find a game or app that is really worth more than the sum of all its parts?

Enter ‘Paint my Wings’ – a simple, genius digital toy by Toca Boca, the company now fast becoming the go-to shop for all your children’s app needs.

In’Paint my Wings’ you equip some cool looking butterflies with new coats of paint. You can play safe and use the normal brushes, or paint with spotted, sable-like brushes. But there’s a twist, one that makes this one a gem: Whatever you draw on one wing gets mirrored to the other wing, making it instantly a beautiful symmetrical creation.

In this case it really pushes creativity and helps achieve brilliant results with minimum skill, maximum experimentation.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Paint my Wings App Store link

 

‘Toca Doctor’ Review – Engaging Mini Games for An Aspiring Toddler Doc

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When I first downloaded Toca Boca’s Toca Doctor, I didn’t fall in love on first sight. The visuals seemed clean but not too interesting, and the gameplay seemed too linear. That changed when I watched my 4 y.o. daughter play.

She grabbed the game and didn’t let it go for at least 30 minutes. I know she’s engaged when I hear heavy breathing and when she won’t answer my questions. But the although the game is that fun to play, she plays it in short sessions of 5-10 minutes at a time.

In the game itself, the player is presented with a few ‘zones’ to tap on – each hiding a mini game. Tapping the mouth can lead to a bacteria-tapping spree, or a toothbrushing jam. The brain holds a maze in which you use the accelerometer to roll around a rounded object the size of a pea, and so on. Upon finishing the four highlighted spots, the player can tap on the doctor to reveal four more mini games.

The sound effects are really well matched to the responsive interface, and help understand what’s going on and create a good sense of fun.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Toca Doctor App Store Link 

‘Grimm’s Rapunzel’ Review – Old Fashioned Interactive Book

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Prior to downloading Grimm’s Rapunzel, I had every reason to believe it would be a success. With what seems like a lot of media praise, I expected something at the very least interesting. However, I ended up with a polished but soulless experience.

My daughter liked it, with its simple mini games, skipping the non-interactive pages quickly. And that left me with a feeling that the actual book part of it is just an excuse, as the reading / listening experience only hinders the overall feel.

The main achievement of  the game is its smooth and well crafted 3d popup book style. It responds to the accelerometer’s tilt, creating a living book. What happens on top of this great base is what I personally found to be below average games, mostly involving dragging around object into containers. This could be good enough, however the dragging is sometimes buggy and somewhat frustratingly unusable.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

‘Grimm’s Rapunzel’ App Store Link

‘Disney Fairies Fly’ Review – Repetitive Gameplay Relying on Franchise

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So, your kid loves fairies, and moreover, Tinkerbell. That was my assumption when I purchased ‘Disney Fairies Fly’ for my daughter.

While this seems like a granted success, my daughter played it once, quit after about two minutes of play, and never re-launched the game. This is quite rare that she ignores a game this way, especially a game with a character she likes from other mediums.

The gameplay itself is pretty simple, and involves flying around lush landscapes. The rest of it, aka the details, is something I hardly remember, as the game itself did not make any impact on either of us.

I believe strong franchises should use their resources better and try harder – many independent developers can do much better than this one.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

Disney Fairies Fly App Store Link

‘Tozzle’ Review – Puzzles for toddlers, for real

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Tozzle is by now a real classic on my iPod Touch. My daughter uses it to show younger friends how to use touch to play games, and as soon as I hear the quite annoying sounds that accompany the game I know she’s on it.

The game itself is made of several different puzzles, all the player has to do is drag one piece at a time to the correct spot on the canvas. If the player misses the spot a couple of times, there is a fantastic hinting system that helps pretty much anyone with a finger find the correct placing.

The production values are the only thing that really prevents this gem from getting a 5-star.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Tozzle App Store Link