Kids Corner Review: Preschool Pals


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Jul 5, 2008
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You remember those old flip books where you could mix and match the head, body, and legs from various animals and such? Well, preschool pals with Henry and Hailey takes this idea and turns it in to an app for kids on the iPhone.

When playing this app, the first thing you can do is go through and look at the various "preschool pals" as they are supposed to appear. They include things like a fireman, policeman, robot, ballerina, etc. You can look at each image, and hit the play button to have each one say something (just a sentence or two).

You can then move to the puzzle phase of the game. Each pal is split into a head, torso, and leg region, and you can slide them back and forth to mix and match - just like the old flip books. You can choose a head to go with a body, and and set of legs as well.

The goal is to find the correct matches, but my daughter has just as much fun creating crazy combinations (robot head on the ballerina body was one of her favorites!). It would be nice to have some sort of mix and match mode, where you aren't just trying to line everything up again.

When you do line everything up, you can hit the play button to see if you got it correct. There is a timer going on the bottom, but I am not sure of its purpose since there aren't any high scores or anything that I could find. I suppose it is just to see how fast you do it, but it you want to turn it into a timed game, it would be nice to be able to know if you beat a previous record.

The game play and graphics are very nice and easy for a child to use. To mix and match, you simple slide the various images left or right until you find the one you are looking for. The graphics are clean and crisp, and easy for a chld to recognize. I think it is cirtical that a child can easily recognize the different figures - if they were too similar to each other, it would be difficult for a pre-schooler to accurately detect differences.

This is a fun game, but I think they novelty wore off for my daughter after a little while. Since all you are trying to do is match them correctly, once you have done a few of them, she got a little distracted. Now this may be different for kids who are younger (my daughter is 5...or as she would then remind me, 5 and a half). But for kids who are starting school, I suspect this app would not provide long term enjoyment.

I think if there were some mode for more creativity and imagination (creating your own combinations) it would have retained my daughters interests longer. Maybe something where you are asked to create someone who can put out fires and dance (and you have to mix the ballerina with the fireman).

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

Pros: Easy to use, simple graphics

Cons: Game play is limited, not "creativity" mode or anything

All in all, this is a good game for preschoolers (as the name suggests). Toddlers and preschoolers will have a fun time trying to match up the different images correctly. Older kids might have some fun, but may get bored with the game relatively quickly. The app is currently $.99 (down from $1.99) and at that price if you have a kid who is allowed to play with your iPhone, it would be worth the price. Three and a half out of five stars. I almost gave it four stars, but since my daughter got bored with it quickly, I feel it is a little limited for long term fun.

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.

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