Bottom line: A simple, cute, and challenging game that's worth a look as a reinforcer. Try the free version.
Catch the Face, by developer LL Technologies, is a very simple game – cartoon blobs of different shapes and colors fly down a race track and once they hit a highlighted zone, right before the finish line, the player has to tap on the corresponding face shown on the sidelines. Saying it's simple isn't the same as saying it's easy however, as the game speeds up very quickly. Also, to add to the mix, there are tennis-like balls that the child can catch to earn bonuses. These of course fly in the opposite direction to the faces.
There are four modes of play:
- In Classic mode, accuracy is key. Players only have three lives and they have to catch each face as it hits the highlighted zone or else they lose a life.
- Classic Time allows kids to make errors - they have to catch as many faces as possible within 90 seconds.
- Challenge mode is the same game as Classic but the faces are all the same colour so those doing the catching have to pay extra attention in order to tag the correct face.
- Challenge Time is the same as Classic Time, but in Challenge mode.
I liked a lot about the app - the cartoon graphics are colorful, the music is peppy and catchy but there is an option to mute the sound. It's easy to learn but a challenge to play which is a great combination for kids. Therapists and teachers would like that it can be played in small chunks, which would make it ideal for use as a reinforcer or reward. There's no educational content per se, but it requires quick thinking, matching skills and a lot of hand-eye co-ordination. Lastly, at 99 cents it's a great price.
For all these reasons, I was disappointed by one feature in particular. If the player fails to catch a face they are heckled by the app. A 'ha-ha' laugh can be heard which reminded me strongly of the one used by Nelson in The Simpsons and on top of that various captions appear saying things like:
- You have to get better
- The face calling earth
- Haven't you learn (sic) how to catch?
I approached the developer about this and he has addressed this concern by adding an option to settings. You can switch the mode from 'heckle' to encouraging messages for kids. The 'ha-ha' laugh is still there and the grammar in the messages needs several corrections - but this game is now safe for kids and I would rate it as definitely worth a look.
This review was written by Deanne Shoyer who isn't saying her hand-eye coordination is bad, but as a child she was made to practice trying to connect a badminton racquet and a birdie. Alone. Against a wall. Not that she's scarred or anything. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority fee for this review.