Bottom line: A jigsaw puzzle app for youngsters with high-production values. It's bright, colourful and fun. Easy to use for the unsupervised toddler.
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I enjoy jigsaw puzzles. My tot enjoys jigsaw puzzles. She also enjoys taking out all our jigsaw puzzles at once and spreading them willy-nilly across the lounge room floor. Hence, I'm drawn to virtual jigsaw puzzles where you turn off the i-device and voila, it is sorted and tidy. Jigsaws are great because they provide all sorts of 'learn while playing' advantages like fine motor development, hand eye co-ordination, spatial development, concentration and problem-solving skills. So as an educational game, jigsaws are ace!
There are plenty of jigsaw apps out there, and Gazzili Puzzles from GazziliWorld, LLC is really well put together compared to most. It's a universal app, and as a buyer, I really appreciate this, as it's handy to be able to use an app on all my devices.
Sequentially, this app just works. It has a linear form which means there's absolutely no confusion for the player. You start with one puzzle available, the next in the sequence being unlocked when the previous one is completed. The puzzles progress incrementally in difficulty, starting with 6 pieces for the first and ending with 20 pieces. They also develop spatial awareness comprehension with the need to start turning the pieces to fit them in. This is introduced really sensibly for the first time in puzzle 3, where the player needs to tap the final piece to turn it and fit it into place, and the remaining puzzles have increasing amounts of turnable pieces, which makes each one more challenging. There are very clear verbal instructions on how to do this. In fact there are really clear verbal instructions for everything.
The instructions are excellent and easy to follow - this is an app that can be played by a preschool-aged child without needing any adult intervention. The narrator/instructor also gives up-beat encouraging feedback which helps the player along towards completion. When each puzzle is finished it animates for a short time, and the cute character has a little chat with the player. A bonus 'item' puzzle then appears which, when completed, turns into an item that's added to the Gazzili Fun Page. I'm not certain of the point of the Fun Page, as there is nothing that can be done there once the puzzles are completed, but it's a cute little feature.
There are 12 puzzles in all - 6 traditional square puzzles and 6 'bonus' item puzzles. I'd like to see more puzzles added in the future as there isn't much replay potential here unless your child is a jigsaw puzzle fanatic. The 6 square puzzles can be played again once they're unlocked, but the bonus puzzles aren't accessible at all afterwards, which I found a bit odd. The picture of the puzzle is provided as a faded-out graphic in the background of the frame - this means that it's very easy for the child to find the right spot for each piece, though it's not teaching the user to find matching features (all the blue bits are probably sky, horse head attaches to body, etc.) as traditional puzzles do, but is more about dropping the matching puzzle piece on top of the existing picture. The jigsaw feature where each piece clicks in together is sort of incidental in this regard. But it's still fun, if not quite as challenging as a traditional jigsaw puzzle format.
The graphics of this app are really well done and are sure to attract young children like bees to honey - everything is bright and colourful and the characters are perky and likable. Much thought has gone into making everything as user-friendly as possible - the menu has options to turn on and off almost everything - sound effects, music, instructions, the Twitter link. I was glad for these options as the music drove me bonkers. Hate it? Turn it off. There is an option for hearing-impaired users which provides the instructions and narration visually. These are details which show that the developers know and are catering to their target audience and beyond. My biggest disappointment is that the link buttons for the other Gazzili apps are placed prominently on the menu page where they will be tapped and the user taken away from the app. I'd like to see an option for a parent lock to be put on these, or at the very least have them hidden away in the menu options where they are less accessible.
As jigsaw puzzle apps go, this one is well-produced with lots of good features. It's definitely worth having on your cluttered i-device. If only so your floor is less cluttered.
Eleanor Holland is a stay at home mum with two children and a robot vacuum cleaner which does not cope well when faced with jigsaw detritus. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.