Sunday, October 18, 2009

iPhone Apps: Scholastic Games

It's iPhone Apps Week here at Things. And Stuff. Over the course of the next few days, I'll be posting lists of my favorites games, utilities, and more. I'd like to have my last day of reviews be reader-suggested apps. Let me know in the comments or via email what your favorite apps are and why.

I'm kicking off Apps Week with a group of Apps from Scholastic. I'm grouping these separately, because Scholastic gave these to me for free. Plus, because they're cool because they're all based on books.

Clifford's BE BIG with Words ($1.99)

This is a simple app that has young kids build three letter words all by themselves. They are guided toward spelling the words by choosing letters from Jetta the Poodle's paint palette. Once it's spelled, a picture is painted to show its meaning.

Honestly, I wasn't sure how much this would hold my kids' attention. Quinn, my four-year-old, is the only one of my kids that this game was age-appropriate for, but I swear, every time I turned around, he was playing this thing. There is definitely limited action on this, and your kid won't play it for hours and hours, but it's a fun little game—especially if your kid loves Clifford and his buddies.

I SPY Spooky Mansion ($0.99) and I SPY Riddle Race ($3.99)

My family loves the I SPY books, so it was natural for me to want to try these two apps. I thought my kids would like these games, but they've mostly ignored them. I, on the other hand, have really been enjoying them.

Each of the games has its own twist, but basically you need to find certain things in the pictures, just as in the books.

You can enlarge the screen in order to look more closely for your items. I gotta say, these game are tough. I didn't imagine it would be, but it is. Some of the puzzles totally stumped me. They're a fun way to while away some time. As you might expect based on the price, the Riddle Race has substantially more puzzles (60) than the Spooky Mansion game (21).

The 39 Clues Madrigal Maze ($3.99)

This maze game is definitely my oldest (8 years old) son's favorite new game. He loves mazes, so this is a perfect fit for him. The mazes get progressively harder, with more obstacles and time limits, as you proceed farther in the game.

We have a couple of the 39 Clues books, but haven't started reading them yet. I'm hoping that playing this game will get my son interested in them. But regardless of whether it makes him reads books, it does keep him happy while we're waiting for my other kids at swim class, so thumbs up in my book. Of the four apps we tried out, this one is our favorite.

Scholastic has a bunch of other apps based on their books, including Goosebumps and Word Girl.

Honesty Clause: Scholastic gave me codes to download these four apps for free.