Review by Mary & Alison
Toca Band is a universal app from the renowned Swedish developer Toca Boca. Toca Boca are known for their “digital toys” that promote open ended creative play. This app has a cast of characters with their own sounds and rhythms; they can play solo or be combined into Toca Band.
This app features a stage and sixteen characters that you can drag via your finger to one of eight positions on the stage. Depending on where they are placed they behave differently –the further back on the stage they are, the faster they play, and the more upbeat they sound. When a character is placed on the star they are elevated above the rest of the band and you can interact with them in a variety of ways. When the characters are waiting in the wings to go on stage, the child can touch them to hear a sample of their sound. They can place them on different positions on the stage to hear how they sound, then add other characters to see how they combine together. When a character is placed on the star they are lifted up, they then fill the screen and the child can play with the character and explore their instrument. While this is happening the band plays on in the background.
We tested this out with four children from age 4-8 years old. The oldest child really liked the app and quickly came up with his favorite character combinations and loved experimenting to see how the music changed with different combinations and positions. With the younger children we got a more mixed reaction than we typically get with Toca Boca apps. For our testers at least, the younger children tended to play it for shorter times than other Toca Boca apps. As it is a more complex app than many other Toca Boca apps, we feel this may be something they grow into more as they play with it more and begin to understand the concept of making different combinations. It is important to read the “Letter to Parents” prior to playing for the first time and encourage your child to play with one character at a time rather than setting up the entire band the first time.
Our suggestion when starting to use this app is to encourage the child to explore each character individually on the star stage – this allows the children to learn which characters they really like, and is in some ways a simpler way to get involved in the app than going straight to trying to make a band. The characters also have some very fun interactions this mode- our favorites include Frig n Frog- the jumping frogs. Once they have explored the characters, next have them play around with combining 2 or 3 characters on stage before doing so with a full lineup.
We liked the colorful characters and the variety of actions they performed. As we have come to expect from Toca Boca, this is a very well made, high quality app, with great colorful graphics, good sound quality and no adverts, in-app purchases or social media links. There is a “Toca News” section on the parents page but it can be switched off in iPad settings. The signature Toca Boca look is incorporated into the various characters and instruments including bimbell the harpist and Wao Miao the cat with colorful balls in his mouth. The Toca band only plays one song (though it is very catchy, I went around with in playing in my head for a whole day !), and adding more is trickier than it sounds, as all the notes the characters play are chosen to harmonize with C Major. We would like to see more song options available, perhaps in a series of stages for the various different keys or in having more than one song in C Major. It would also be nice to access the parent screen from the band screen or at least a reminder that the letter exists the first few times it is opened.
Toca Bandby Toca Boca AB
Category: Education, Music
Requirements: Compatible with iPadMini, iPad 2 3G, iPadMini4G, iPadThirdGen, iPodTouchFifthGen, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad WiFi, iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5, iPadFourthGen, iPod Touch (3. Gen.), iPhone4S, iPadFourthGen4G, iPod Touch (4. Gen.), iPad 3G, iPad 2 WiFI
Size: 47.32 MB
Screenshots(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
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