(Reviewed by Mary and Grace) Puzzle Pop and Puzzle Pop HD are from the award winning California based app developer Duck Duck Moose. We reviewed both the iPhone and iPad versions. There are many children’s puzzle apps available in the app store but this one has a truly unique twist – the pictures on them are animated and the characters literally move from piece to piece.
On the opening screen lively jazz music plays and you can pop bubbles. When you enter the puzzle you see a cute cartoon picture, then the puzzle gets cut in two pieces and the characters start dancing around the screen, you click and drag to solve the puzzle. As you solve the puzzles you move up through 27 levels with more and more pieces – 32 pieces at the highest level (strips or squares instead of standard jigsaw shapes). Once you get above four pieces, suddenly it starts being a lot trickier than you expect. A character can be in one piece when you first look at it, but then dance into the adjoining piece and back again. The harder levels are challenging even for an adult. In each level there is a countdown timer (15 seconds in the lower levels, over six minutes in the highest levels), if you complete the puzzle before the time runs out you move up to the next level, if it takes longer then you do new puzzles at the same level. Once you have unlocked a level you can also manually chose to go into that level (useful when children of different ability levels are sharing the app). Whilst playing children can work on problem solving, sequencing, spatial reasoning and recognition of shape, pattern and color.
We liked the fact the puzzle adapts to how the child is doing. If it takes a long time to complete a level you can keep practicing at that level. If you solve it quickly you can move up. We also liked the background music which plays familiar children’s tunes in a jazz style, so it is appealing to adults as well as children .The app’s target range is 3 -adult, but the younger (or special needs) children may find it hard to do more than the first 2 or 3 levels.
Overall, this is a fun and innovative variation on a puzzle app, much more challenging than you would expect, and something that can be enjoyed by a large variety of ages.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Cost: iPhone AU$1.99 (19.2MB) – HD AU$1.99 (30.5MB)