They had us at the title Kung Fu Robot, to be honest. But the developers of this ace iPad app sealed the deal with the first paragraph of their App Store listing:
“He’s the Unicycle Champion of the 3rd Northern District, the world record holder for “ice cream sandwiches eaten in one sitting,” the reigning champion of continuous nunchucking and once won a bronze medal for simultaneous stomach rubbing and head patting. Meet KUNG FU ROBOT.”
It’s marvellous: an “interactive comic book, designed to engage young readers” that’s initially available as a free download with three chapters – and more chapters to come that you’ll presumably pay for.
Xbox One is Microsoft’s next-generation games console, but it’s about more than just games. It was unveiled last night, and should be on sale by the end of 2013. We think it has huge potential for children’s entertainment.
Microsoft is describing it as “the most advanced Xbox system ever designed for games, TV and entertainment”, stressing that while the console will be able to play bigger, better-looking games, it will also have a strong focus on TV. And, indeed, interactive TV.
Xbox One will also come with an improved version of Microsoft’s Kinect controller, which can track people’s gestures in the room, as well as understand voice commands. It’s this combination in particular that could spark a new wave of innovative software/shows aimed at kids.
Perhaps by the time our children are grown up, they’ll be able to travel to Mars for their holidays on passenger-spaceships. For now, they’ll have to make do with iPhone app PetitRocket Mission to Mars.
It’s a fun, well-crafted app that starts by taking a photograph of your child using the iPhone’s front-facing camera, thus making them the astronaut peering out of the app’s little orange rocket.
It then blasts off, and they steer it to Mars by tilting the device left and right to follow a dotted line – with no penalty for doing it wrong, which is an important touch for young children – and landing on the Red Planet. They can then tap to capture the moment as a photo, before jetting home.
It sounds like MOME TechLab in Hungary has been looking at as many children’s book-apps as we have. Their aim, though, has been to use that knowledge to make their own.
“After having analysed dozens of interactive book titles in the app stores, we prepared for 6-8 year old kids an interactive version of a well-known Hungarian folk tale, published by László Arany,” explains the app store listing for the result: Little Rooster and his Diamond Halfpenny.
Released for iPad and Android, it’s described as an “experimental interactive book” with highlighted words and characterful monochrome illustrations. It’s also free, making it worth a look.
Every year, a new crop of children encounter Justin Fletcher for the first time through his shows on CBeebies: Something Special, Gigglebiz and Justin’s House.
He’s probably the most familiar face on children’s TV here in the UK, and now he’s making the leap onto iPhones and iPads with a planned series of ‘Justin’s World’ apps. Starting with Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Released last week, it sees Justin telling the famous fairytale through a mixture of video and mini-games, including dressing up as Goldilocks AND the three bears.
On 6 September 2010, we wrote our first article on Apps Playground: a story about an app named Thumbelina for the iPad. Just over two and a half years later, this is our one thousandth post! We thought it was worth a mini-celebration.
In the 32 months since we launched, more than 178,000 people have visited Apps Playground – a number that’s been growing at its fastest in the last few months. It’s also a number that makes our heads spin, given that the site started as an in-our-spare-time project simply because we wanted to share details about the apps we found for our two children.
So what do the next 1,000 posts hold in store? We’ve got some big plans, including a professional redesign of the site – which will also look spiffing on smartphones and tablets – and more of everything: more news articles, more reviews, more videos, and more opinion on the apps and topics that we’re passionate about in children’s digital entertainment.
Disney’s Where’s My Water? game has been a hit with children and adults alike, introducing cute alligator Swampy to an audience of tens of millions. Now he’s getting a friend.
Her name is Allie, and yes, she’s a female alligator. She’s the star of 40 new levels for the game, which can be bought for a 69p in-app purchase. Whereas Swampy’s levels are focused on manipulating water, Allie is more focused on steam.
“Allie is the sewer’s most creative alligator. Her quirky spirit and artistic talents made her a star. Now, the gators have crafted a one-of-a-kind steam-powered musical instrument, and can’t wait to hear her play it!” explains the game’s App Store listing.
A fun touch: Allie even plays “classic Disney tunes” on the instrument. She joins Swampy, Cranky and ‘Mystery Duck’ as characters in the game. Where’s My Water? costs 69p on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.