Reviewed by Amanda
77SPARX Studio, the developer of the popular toddlers puzzle app PUZZINGO introduces another great app aimed at those in a similar age group. The object of Stack ‘N Puzzles is to help Stack the friendly beaver put his town back together after it was destroyed by a tornado by completing various puzzles involving the towns landmarks – the fire station, the museum and the school.
The app’s home screen features a play button; a ‘Secret Puzzle’ button which directs the user to the developers website and asks them to do a series of tasks to unlock a bonus puzzle and a link to more apps by the developer on the App Store. Once the user presses play, the story begins with a short average-quality video of Stack introducing himself and explaining what he enjoys doing. You are then taken to a map of Stack’s town where you must help him place the items from his magic toolbox into the relevant places on the map. If the user takes too long, a pointing finger appears to prompt the activity of opening the toolbox. Once the item is placed on the map, it opens up to reveal a puzzle.
The puzzles are a simple drag-and-drop interface and by tapping on any element of the puzzle, you will hear Stack announce the name of it and its associated sound. Puzzle pieces are also layered which allows for multiple items on top of each other in each puzzle and more learning opportunities about what is involved in each scene. Upon completion of each puzzle, Stack offers words of encouragement and some colourful balloons float up the screen (try tapping them!). Moving to the next activity involves sliding the ‘Exit’ tab. In addition to the puzzles, there are various activities to complete on the map such as fighting fires that break out by driving the fire truck along the road to the location of the fire, driving the school bus to collect the kids when school lets out and if Stack’s friend T-Rex escapes from the museum, you must drive the Van to capture him. Double tapping a finished puzzle on the map will reopen it to complete again.
The app features bright, engaging graphics and Stack is voiced by an enthusiastic, professional narrator. There are limited settings for the app which can be found by sliding the Menu slider and choosing the cog image. Settings include options to turn the music on or off and an option for the language, which currently only supports English. My eldest boys (5 & 3) really enjoyed Stack ‘N Puzzles but some things I would love to see in upcoming updates include the option to show the completed puzzles first and then shrink the items into the magic toolbox as this will jog toddlers memories of which coloured objects go where (beds in the fire station, clocks in the school) and also more tasks to do on the map in addition to fighting fires, collecting kids and chasing dinosaurs.
Stack ‘N Puzzles is perfect for children to learn how to make associations and to improve their problem-solving skills and would make a great addition to your app collection!
Our Rating: 4/5
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Cost: AU$1.99 (26.9MB)
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