1. cjvitek's Avatar
    With my daughter just starting kindergarten, she is already in the process of getting homework to help her learn letters and learn to read. With that in mind, I decided to review ABC Alphabet Game with Henry and Hailey. I think this might be a little young for my daughter (5 years old) as she can recognize most of the letters, but as with all kid corner reviews, I wanted her input.

    The concept is simple enough - you first use the "learn" button to learn different letters, the corresponding image, and the lower case letter. In learn mode, you can scroll through the alphabet. Choose any letter, tap "play", and you will be presented with a child's voice telling you the letter, the object that begins with the letter, and a little about the object (the octopus has 8 legs, for example). Unfortunately there is only one image associated with each letter, and one "sound track" so tapping on a letter a secopnd time does not give you anything different.

    Once you have learned the alphabet, you can then go to play mode. In that mode, the three object (upper case letter, lower case letter, and image) are scrambled, so you have to correctly match the letters (upper and lower case) and the image. When you do so correctly, you get a resounding "yes!". If you get it wrong, you get a voice saying some variant of "wrong", "try again", "incorrect", etc. You match the items up by sliding through the various options. Everything is in alphabetical order to make it easier for kids just learning (although it would be interesting to have a more difficult mode where things are not in alphabetical orders). As you complete the items, the timer shows you how rapidly you did so. Unfortunately, there is no quiz mode or timed mode to record you efforts. You can't try to beat a speed record, or do as many as you can within a certain time limit. Adding these would in many ways make more of a challenging game out of it, and would be fun IMO.

    While playing there is a nice background tune playing - the ABC song. I wish there was a way you could just play the ABC song (with lyrics and perhaps the animated images with letters and pictures) in a practice mode - this would be great for kids that are just learning their alphabet.

    This is a cute program that can really help kids learn to recognize their letters. As I said, my daughter was a little too old for it, she got bored pretty quickly. I wish there were some way to increase the difficulty - perhaps "locking" one of the reels so a child is forced to find the letters that correspond with a picture, or the image that corresponds with a specific letter. By allowing a child to spin ALL the reels, the child can effectively bypass letters that they may not recognize or are difficult. One feature that would be great would be to hear a voice say a letter, than the child has to match up the spinners for that letter.

    In the learning mode I would have liked to see a little variation - perhaps showing an image only and saying the letter (or vice versa). Again, this would potentially increase the difficulty in the game for kids that are a little older. But as it stands, this app seems to be a useful tool for increasing a child interest in learning the alphabet.

    Pros: Nicely aimed at kids, easy game play for kids to learn

    Cons: No ways to increase difficulty or variation within the game

    All in all, this is a nice program for kids just learning their ABC's. It combines visual images with audible cues, a great way of learning, and it does it in a way that should prove interesting for most kids. I wish there was an ability to add a higher level of difficulty for kids that are beyond simply recognizing letters, as well as different images associated with the letters (it can be too easy to memorize the ones that are used). But taken as a whole, this is a good tool for children just starting. The price isn't bad ($1.99) for the app, and I give it four out of five stars.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo code to review this app.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.
    03-03-2009 12:24 PM
  2. cjvitek's Avatar
    BTW, I have no real idea who Henry and Hailey are. I didn't detect any "girl or boy" voices in the game, you couldn't choose one or the other, and there weren't any helpers that you could use in the game either.
    03-03-2009 12:25 PM
  3. techiemom's Avatar
    Thank you for taking the time to do this review. I appreciate all your thoughts and suggestions. We are thinking about doing an update soon. Henry is my 3 yr old son and Hailey is modeled on one of his best friends. Our first game is a mix and match game of 11 characters. They are two of the characters. Maybe in the update we can incorporate and give Henry and Hailey a bigger role in the alphabet game.
    03-05-2009 12:55 AM
  4. techiemom's Avatar
    I forgot to mention the name of the first game which is Preschool Pals-Henry & Hailey. It was a Best Kid distraction app finalist in the recent 2008 Best App Ever Awards.
    03-05-2009 12:58 AM
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