Bottom Line: iFlyKids is an inexpensive app with dubious educational merit but enough bells and whistles to occupy a budding gamer.
If your babysitter cancels at the last minute and the wait at Olive Garden threatens to derail your night on the town, fork over the iPhone and hold the terrible twos or threatening threes at bay with iFlyKids by Technolio. I’m not a fan of electronics at the dinner table but sometimes a mom’s got to do what a mom’s gotta do.
iFlyKids involves helping Toby the lion complete a series of missions that require finding various shapes as he flies blimps, copters or gliders through an ever increasing maze of moving obstacles. The movement is all controlled via dragging a finger in the desired direction.
When the player maneuvers his plane over a shape, it explodes in stars (in a non-violent kid-friendly way) and a counter at the top of the screen records how many additional shapes must be found to complete the mission. As each level is completed, more objects are added and the complexity of navigating over and around walls that slide up and down ramps up significantly.
The app lacks any narrative that explains why a lion is collecting shapes. Nothing in the app description indicates anything special happens when all missions are unlocked other than being able to select the vehicle of one’s choice. Why not have a zookeeper searching for bananas for monkeys and hay for zebras; or design a task of picking up trash to save a planet and keep it clean? Missions of this sort would provide enough educational content to at least warrant being in that category.
The names of the shapes are not spoken or displayed as they are collected, which is a fairly significant miss. Another suggestion to the educational end would be to include shapes that the child is not supposed to touch for that level, so the child has to discriminate in what he goes after.
The design and set up of the mazes is fairly intuitive and should do a good job of keeping a fidgety toddler’s interest. Completing all levels would even go a long way to ensuring your youngster becomes a competent gamer as he reaches his tween years and gets his own phone. I did find the vehicle movement somewhat slow and choppy. The slow response may be calculated to fit the motions of a small child’s fingers, but it brought to mind me driving a stick-shift car.
While I do feel the concept behind this app is sound, it needs a number of improvements before I can recommend it. The launch screen of the app has a rather large button marked For Parents. When activated, it leads to a page with links to Facebook, Twitter, the App Store and pretty much opens a gateway to the internet. A tap 5x lockout used to great effect in Tapikeo HD could take care of this concern.
One final issue that needs addressing immediately is the App Store description for iFlyKids, which has to be rewritten by a fluent-English speaker.
If you would like to download iFlyKids ($0.99 for iPad/iPhone) please support Smart Apps for Kids by using this link button.
This review was completed by Jill Goodman. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.