Reviewed by Mary and Alison
Toca Train is a universal app from renowned Swedish developer Toca Boca. The app allows you to drive the Toca Train on a winding train track in the Scandinavian countryside. You can choose to operate the train from inside the drivers cab, or have an aerial view of the train as it chugs through the countryside. The controls are simple – you push a lever to 1,2, or 3 for different speeds, and to zero to stop. There are three stations on the line and you can stop at each one to pick up or set down passengers, there are also three cargo stations: a mill, a storehouse and a lumber station, where you can load and unload cargo. When you are approaching a passenger station a smiley face appears over the zero, and for a cargo station a crane, pressing on this icon or moving the lever to zero will stop the train at the station. You can have a maximum of four passengers and one piece of cargo on the train at any time. At the cargo stops you can operate the crane and choose one of three pieces of cargo to load onto your train. When driving from inside the cab you can look around 180 degrees inside the cab -to see the route map, drink the driver’s tea and operate the train whistle. From outside you have a truly panoramic view – you can spin around through 360 degrees to see the train from in front, behind or either side, you can also choose to have an aerial view of the train. Not only do you see the train from all angles, but you can also explore the countryside in the same way, and if you really want to explore a certain area you can always stop the train to look around for longer.
This app is very well made, and all four of the kids (and several adults!) that we tested it with had a lot of fun playing with it. It is an essence a very simple, easy to use, kid-friendly app – the train controls are intuitive, it is very easy to load and unload passengers and cargo, and the train never goes off the rails. Driving the train, loading and unloading the passengers and cargo are great fun for kids. However, where this app really comes into its own is in the details. The graphics are simply stunning, and it is really interesting to just look around and explore the wealth of detail – from the clouds in the sky, through the Scandinavian houses, the working windmill, tunnels, bridges and more. We love having the ability to pan around and explore it all. The app has cheerful, child friendly music in the background, but it is worth switching this off for a while, through the settings menu of your iPad, to really appreciate all the wonderful sound effects, clanking levers, bells, whistles, the soft chugging of the steam engine and even the passengers footsteps. The app gives lots of opportunities to stimulate discussions about where the passengers or cargo are headed, who lives in the houses, how it may be different from where we live, what book is hiding under the driver’s cup of tea- and many more. It can also be fun to take the ideas from the app and play them out with wooden trains and a train table. The app contains no in-app purchases, social media links or external adverts. It does contain adverts for other Toca Boca apps with app store links but you can switch these off by turning off Toca News in the settings section of your iPad.
This is a really well made app and the kind that sparks all sorts of creative ideas on other things it would be fun to add to the app. Some of our ideas include : a reverse gear for when you miss a stop, another branch line you could switch onto, a train repair yard, the ability to lift the blinds and peek in at the passengers, or a mode where each passenger and piece of cargo had a specific destination that you aimed to deliver them to.
In our opinion this is a must have app for toddlers and early school age children, especially those that love trains and other vehicles. Alison’s son and husband have spent hours playing together with one controlling the speed and the other picking up passengers and cargo, and Mary’s three children (aged from five to eight-years-old ) have all spent countless hours playing it and have declared it the best Toca Boca app yet!
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Please use our App Store button above if you decide to buy this app. It doesn’t cost any extra and a small portion of the cost goes to support the work we do here at The iMums!
Already use this app? Rate it here!
Latest posts by Mary (see all)
- Huge VAST app Giveaway - May 18, 2013
- Sound Cylinder™ by Definitive Technology – Review and Giveaway ($199 value) - May 18, 2013
- Speech-EZ® Apraxia Picture Sound Cards PRO ($300 app)-Giveaway - May 18, 2013