Dr. Panda Firefighters is a universal app for iOS that lets your child fight fires, drive a fire truck, clear obstacles, explore over 30 rooms and more. This app is designed for toddler age and up and features Dr. Panda and his friends as they drive the firetruck to the scene of the fire, turn on the water and look around for flames to extinguish. It reminded me very much of playing fire engines as a kid, except Dr Panda was able to physically make the rooms rather than me having to imagine them. The app is great for toddler and preschoolers especially. It can be used to practice following directions, expressive language to narrate what they are doing and following along with the animals to rescue them. There is also cause and effect of fighting the fire, handing over the tools and moving on to the next level.
The app opens in the firehouse where the firetruck is waiting to be cleaned. As the alarm bell rings, the animals scurry to get dressed in their coats. With that the firetruck leaves to go to the fire the fun begins. First you get dressed, then you drive the truck to the scene and begin fighting the fire. The firefighters ask for different tools like a shovel or axe to help move around the fire and get the animals out. You use a crank to move the ladder up and down to move to each different level of the fire. Currently the firefighters yell, “hey” or “help me” as they need different tools to fight the fire. The tools include a shovel, axe and bucket of water. Fires can occur in any of the buildings, my son enjoyed the office building and apartment complex the most. For each “game” you go through several levels to fight the fire which involve things like rescuing animals, handing the firefighters tools and spraying water. After each fire is completed, the “Dr Panda Daily” shows a completed photo of the animals safely outside the fire. Quick tip, you can pick either the monkey or Dr. Panda by choosing where you hand the axe to when you start the app.
The graphics and animation are well done and I liked the step by step process of the animals getting ready, driving the truck to the scene and each member taking on a job. My son liked that he could “fight” the fire with both water and rescue the other animals. The graphics were bright and easy to see. My son really liked spraying the water to put out the fire – which he thought was especially fun. He liked getting the animals dressed and ready to head out to fight the fire. My son liked narrating the app as we went along describing what he was doing like handing the axe to the monkey or “cooling down and putting out the fire”. My son also wanted to “wash” the firetruck with the sponge but was sad that he couldn’t.
In terms of improvements, I’d like to see a better experience driving the firetruck. Currently you twist the steering wheel to drive, but it feels clunky at best as you navigate the streets hurrying to get to the fire. The truck drives itself, along the streets, something I’d like to see a child be able to do. Perhaps a similar driving method could be used to the Dr Panda Bus Driver or Dr Panda game. I’d also like to see the ability to finish putting out the fire before you exit the building. As you go to each floor, there is a task it might be rescuing someone, or hitting a hot spot of the fire. Once that “task” is done the water shuts off and you move on to the next job. That means that you might exit the fire with it still burning – which can be disappointing to some children. He wanted to be able to go back and finish putting out the fire. My son also asked if he could see the upstairs of the firehouse and things that firefighters do other than just putting out fires like “help people”.
Overall, this is a fun app that takes imaginary play of a fire station to real life. There are things that I would change to improve the user experience, but the app has solid fundamentals and encourages speech and helping others. I also used the app to encourage fire safety and talk about what we would do if a real fire happened at our house. It also helps with role playing as your child imagines themselves putting out the fire.
Dr. Panda Firefightersby Dr. Panda Ltd
Category: Education, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76
Size: 219.94 MB
Screenshots(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
NOTE: 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.
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.