Reviewed by Mary & Amanda
Mary: Build Cars with Edward and Arthur, a universal app by PlayWithMotion, stars an alligator and a tortoise, the alligator builds the cars and the tortoise drives them. You are taken into their workshop where you have a car chassis and a collection of parts which you can put together to build a car. Once you’ve built it you get to drive it around a small curving desert race track, to collect stars. Back at the workshop the stars you have collected allow you access to new body parts for your car and unlock two more complex race tracks. As you unlock more parts you discover was a lot of humor put into choosing the car parts- car seats include choices such as a toilet or a park bench,you can have garden shed or a greenhouse for the drivers cab and you can add accessories such as a pirate flag, a chimney or a fan. You can also choose to built more traditional vehicles such as a red race-car, a pink convertible or an old fashioned police car.
I started off by showing the app to my five year old son, he was immediately enthralled by getting to build his own mix and match vehicles, and by the idea of racing them. There is a certain knack to controlling the cars on the track- if you let your finger get too far in front you can’t control the car very well, he found this hard at first but after 5 minutes of me helping him he was off and running and well able to use it independently. He was laughing so much using the app that his twin sister and older brother wanted to try too, and it has quickly become a favorite app for all three of them. They have a lot of fun trying out different vehicle combinations then trying to collect all the stars.There are some surprise elements built into the app too- you have to keep an eye on the fuel gauge and refill before you out run out of gas, you can earn extra stars by building certain vehicle combinations and watch out as there are obstacles on some of the tracks that not all vehicles can navigate. Another thing I had not foreseen with this app is that it makes a great joint activity, my kids love to watch each other build silly cars and take turns to race them.
When I first opened this app my initial reaction was this is cute but I can’t see it holding my kids attention for very long, I was totally wrong on that score – they love it and keep coming back to it, once you have unlocked all the parts there is a huge number of different combinations you can build. I like the fact that they have fun using it, they can exercise their imagination and creativity, work on their fine motor skills and use it to play together. My kids have already unlocked all the extra parts and tracks, so although they keep earning more stars there is nothing left for them to earn. In a future update I would love to see prizes added for higher numbers of stars – maybe a new track or special vehicle or trophy at 500, 1,000 and 2,000 stars. Overall my kids give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Amanda: My two eldest boys (5 & 3) are also huge fans of building crazy cars with Edward and Arthur and this app has shot to the top of their favourites. This app features realistic car sound effects and wonderful, professional ‘claymation’ graphics which immediately caught my attention as I’d been a fan of this style of animation since the days of Gumby. The interface for this app is very simple to use and ideal for kids as it contains no settings, advertisements, social links or in-app purchase options. We discovered early on that certain cars will drive differently on the road depending on which parts you choose when building – a car with regular tyres will travel a lot faster than a car with tank tracks!
I have over 300 kids apps on my iPad and not a great deal of those have my boys playing together peacefully without an argument ensuing but much to my delight, Edward and Arthur seem to be able to achieve that. They thoroughly enjoyed watching and helping each other build different cars and guide each other around the track to collect the stars. We haven’t gotten as far as Mary’s children with the stars but we are looking forward to seeing the new car parts and race tracks that will become available when they do. I too think a trophy for achieving a certain milestone would be a great addition to this app. The trophies could be showcased on top of the toolbox in the garage!
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later. (PLEASE NOTE, THIS GAME IS CURRENTLY NOT WORKING ON THE ORIGINAL iPAD)
Cost: AU$1.99 (24.5MB)
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A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.