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One of the great things about testing so many apps is that you're able to appreciate when one is really that much better than what else is out there. You try this app and that app and then bang! It's like a light goes on, and there's a bell (ding!), and you realize that you've really found something.
Bugs and Buttons is one of those apps.
First, the gameplay: The aforementioned 18 mini-games include work with letters, numbers, colors, patterns, sorting, and matching. For special needs parent/teachers, Bugs and Buttons has several games that are dragging and dropping, pinching and hand-eye coordination.
The games are all extremely well-done and, since there are so many of them, there are sure to be several that a child will really enjoy or will serve a desired educational purpose. My kids favorites are roach (drag) racing, where the player taps as fast as they can on alternating buttons, butterfly valley, a tilt-to-steer navigation game (through dandelions!) and bug-mazing, where the child draws a line that the insect follows to get through a maze.
Second, visuals: I haven't been this impressed with graphics since I tested Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow and these are really sharper, more colorful and in many ways more impressive. (High praise indeed.) As soon as you start it up, the app just jumps out at you.
Gameplay, graphics and, perhaps the best part, music! Bugs and Buttons has more than 45 minutes (!) of terrific music and remarkable sound effects, from bees yelling "yippeee" to tarantulas complaining when they are picked up.
The interface is smooth and easy, and there are visual instructions for each game. Lily is four and picked everything up easily. There are 44 bug stamps a child can earn for certain achievements and, remarkably, the gameplay adapts to the level of the player. I played Bees-Eye (fling bees at flowers) for a few minutes, and it started to become a bit of a challenge for me.
I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea. I like to complain about at least a few things when I review an app so that people know I'm being honest and straight with them. What can I complain about here? That there aren't 19 games in the app? That they aren't real insects?
Bugs and Buttons is an absolute must-download.
Ron Engel is the coolest person he knows. Little Bit Studio, the developer of Bugs and Buttons, is an advertiser at smartappsforkids.com