Note: This review was previously posted in April 2017, we have simply slightly updated the review to include the new area as well as to offer a giveaway!
Dr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd is the first free app with in-app purchases or IAP offered by Dr. Panda games. Dr. Panda was founded in 2012 and has a number of apps available for iOS and Android with great open free play options. This app includes in-app purchases for a park and a supermarket as well as a home setting. For purposes of this review, I will review both the park and supermarket settings contained within the app. The app opens with Dr. Panda pulling up to the town in his yellow car. If you try to open up the park or supermarket and have not purchased them a parental lock pops up before taking you into the iTunes store which requires you to enter your year of birth. Of note, I got the app bundle on one device and had to “restore” my purchase on my second device to be able to access each of the three places. We used language to describe each of the actions which made it great for practicing language.
Inside the house, there is a living room, kitchen with variety of foods as well as the ability to cook and mop the floors. Upstairs in the home is a bathroom and a kids bedroom. My kids in particular liked the attic where they found treasures like a rocking horse and antique television. The characters are down at the bottom by the Dr. Panda logo and you can add and move them around within the different portions of the app. I also liked the recycling in each of the locations as well. Inside the grocery store reminds me a lot of Dr. Panda Supermarket with items to place inside your basket as well as different items like soap, toothpaste and milk. When we played, I actually gave my younger son a “picture list” of items for us to place inside the basket prior to checking out.
My toddler also liked the soccer ball and wanted to “kick” it with the characters – something we couldn’t figure out how to do, we also tried to bring it to the park to play with as well as the basket ball but couldn’t make it work. We also cooked on the grill outside. My toddler loved the park – he enjoys going to the park and he loves Dr. Panda Ice Cream so he was delighted to see the ice cream stand in the park. My son’s favorite part was dispensing each of the candies from the machines as well as eating the cookies. Inside the park there is a variety of playground toys like a see-saw, slide and even clothing to change into as well as a picnic. We enjoyed giving dog a ride in the boat – although he needs a life jacket! Playing in the skate park was fun as well going back and forth. My toddler loved the animations of the airplane and motorcycle as the characters rode them.
Up in the attic it would be fun if the television played promos for other Dr. Panda apps – right now there are a variety of random images with characters from the app but no real cohesive things shown. My toddler also wanted to “talk” using the phone which currently just rings and lets you take it off the hook. My older son asked if we could decorate the treats inside of the supermarket as he is getting older and likes to help me cook — perhaps a baking app might be in the future? Other enhancements might be using money to put into the slot for the candy or to pay for the vending machine and cafe in the park. I’d love to see some of the items we make in other Dr. Panda apps incorporated here to give kids a taste of some of the great fun they can have with other apps. I would also like to see a clothing closet or rack for all of the different outfits to change into – perhaps this could be on the bottom with all of the characters? My older son also wanted more “healthy” options for the picnic including fruits and veggies so we must be doing something right!
UPDATE: As of July 2017, Dr. Panda has launched a new Restaurant area where you can play music, sit and have a meal, prepare a few of your favorites in the kitchen like baked potato, pizza, fresh vegetables and more. Once cooked they can either be boxed for takeout or put on a plate for eating in the restaurant area. Among the activities are setting the table with silverware, putting lit (or unlit) candles on the table, touch the clock to switch the time, read a newspaper and more. I also liked the healthy food options including vegetables, ability to wash dishes, ability to touch to turn on/off lights, the fan for cooking and more. Super fun update!
For me, once I tested the house, I knew I wanted more and got the combination of the supermarket and park for $2.99 IAP because my kids hate being locked out of anything. That makes them all the more determined to use it! In app purchases are protected with a parental gate which requires your year of birth and then you are pulled to iTunes.
Dr. Panda Town is fun and just enough different from other apps on the market which make it enjoyable for my kids to play. Each of the three areas are fun and have unique content like a water scene inside the park or a picnic or even shopping at the grocery store. Just until July 27, you can purchase the Restaurant area for only $0.99 IAP, after that it will revert to full price of $1.99.