Sometimes an app just really moves me. It might make me laugh, completely bewildered or even a little tearful. It's an unabashed, instinctive reaction that fills me with affection for the apps in question.
So I decided to compile a list of apps that are a little bit out there - some of them look quite quirky, others have characters that don't 'fit' in. They're lovable misfits.
This square peg presents to you all ten of her favourite square peg apps.
The Artifacts, ($2.99, iPhone/iPad). Now although this app is described as suitable for 4 years and above, I really feel that kids aged around the 10 year old mark and upwards will fully appreciate it.
This is a storytelling app, a story about a young boy, Asaf, who loved to collect things; shelves full of antiques and querios or 'Bagatelles, baubles, geegaws and gimmicks', (how beautiful is that description?)
His family doesn't like Asaf's collections, especially his ever increasing brood of caterpillars. On his 13th birthday he arrives home to an empty house and a bare bedroom. They have moved houses and left his collections behind. The rule for the new house is 'No more collections.' What follows is how the strength and breadth of Asaf's imagination save him. Beautifully illustrated with moody music and quirky interactions, this tale is one of triumph over adversity and the power of a creative mind.
These two apps feature a most lovable turtle named Sheldon. In the first app, Sheldon's Adventure, Sheldon is struggling to find his way in the world and what his life purpose is. He sets out on a journey, meeting a cricket called Hank and some dancing cows and a great classical soundtrack including Vivaldi, Bach and Strauss.
In the next installment, Sheldon's Adventure: Cornered, poor Sheldon is the subject of teasing at school because of his square shell. His mama tries to tell him that his four cornered shell is in fact a unique and cool part of him but Sheldon's having none of it. He even pays a visit to the 'shell' shop to try on funky round shells. Both Sheldon apps deal with issues such as self-esteem, special gifts, courage and friendship. I may be Sheldon's biggest fan - I love him.
I may have mentioned this app before but honestly, it brings me back to my childhood when tv characters quite often were knitted or crocheted and pretty quirky, (The Clangers anyone???)
Every single piece in this app has been hand crocheted so it looks like no other app I have ever seen. I'm also a sucker for strange noises in apps; silly squeaks or animal sounds, and this app has tons of them. I just find it all so entertaining and hilarious. And Loopy, a colourful snail who has lost his lettuce, is an adorable lead character. There are over 30 pages in this app and 6 mini-games so it is fabulous value for money. Apart from making me smile every time I look at it, this app also makes me wish I'd paid more attention to my Grandma when she was trying to teach me how to crochet.
Again this app features a little guy who doesn't fit in. Jeff has purple goggles and actually likes to learn new things (which makes him stand out from the rest of his classmates.) He is expelled from school (Mr Octopus believes 4 + 4 = 10!) for being too 'different' so has to begin an aquatic journey alone. Jeff is a curious little mis-fish, swimming about looking at relics in the ocean until he is scooped out of the water by a net. He ends up in a fish tank (in a large company called Goggle!) with a jazz singing whale called Jimmy. Together they escape and come up with a very good idea....(you'll have to download it to find out.)
Plump with colours, rich in blues and jazz, and full of dry wit, Jeff the Mis-Fish is a funny, funky app. Get it now while it's free.
I was flicking through the App Store one evening with the Tot ensconced on my knee and we came across this app. The Tot wanted to play with it as she said it looked like ' The Play-Doh has come alive!' so I downloaded it.
Again, this app has all the strange and hysterical sound effects that appeal to me. And it actually does look like tubs of playdough have come alive and are taking over the world. The object of the game is to squish clay villains so you can grow bigger. There are in-app purchases but we have played almost 30 quests without needing to buy anything.
All of the characters in the app are made from real clay and the music is ...well, it's hard to describe. It's whacky and weird in a wonderful way.
Battle bullies, build clay hills and meet some of the most peculiar characters I have ever come across. Fantastic.
I'm not good at maths. I always found it incredibly difficult and boring. But I do believe I would have paid more attention if the teacher had used this app.
It's a smorgasbord of magical creatures, fractions, there's also a T-Rex (I think?) and arithmetic puzzles. Think Pokemon meets geometry, imagine Digimon and division combined.
It's pretty out there as far as educational apps go but it works. It's definitely engaging - my teen really liked playing with it as I think he was completely unaware that he was doing Maths. Definitely the quirkiest Maths app I've seen and really enjoyable.
Lite Version (FREE)
It's about a monster. A monster who has lost his socks. That alone would make me want to download this app but oh my squid, this app is a lovable oddball. A little monster wakes up with bare monster toes. His favourite socks have gone astray. By using arrows left and right of the screen you control the little guy as he wanders about looking for the elusive pair. 'Where are my striped socks of yellow, pink and blue? I miss you dear socks, oh what shall I do!' He walks, he goes on a boat and eventually (as you do) he ends up on the moon where he wonders if his socks could play without gravity.
It's a happy ending though as the stripy socks are indeed found. I LOVE this app. I laughed the whole way through it and my kids loved it too. It's odd, unique, smart and hilarious.
This free first book in the Peggy series is Peggy's Little Harbour: What friends are for. Peggy is described as a little girl who 'listens with her heart' which just makes me all warm and snuggly inside.
What's unique is Peggy, her Nanny (Grandma) and her dog Droolie all have square shaped heads which just makes them inexplicably endearing to me. Also, by tilting the iPad, you get a 360 degree effect of the background scene. Peggy meets lots of new friends on her quest to find some fresh blueberries; Bruce the Moose, Lops the Lynx and Bonnie the Bear. She is also pretty snazzy at playing the fiddle.
There's also little mini-film about Peggy and her Newfoundland home included in this free app. It's hip to be square with this one.
When I was little I always wanted a pony. I imagine this is the kind of pony I would have had if my dream had come true. This app is full of useful tips for children who have a pony BUT while the little girl character is an earnest, sensible type of child, her pony is a horse with attitude. He's a laidbacked lad who likes to read 'Mane's Health' instead of helping clean up his stable. He also has a little bit of a flatulence problem. This young horse is full of mischief ( I secretly love his naughtiness) but his owner adores him. And this may well be the only app in the world to feature carrot fireworks...
So that's it. My round up of apps that may not always feature in the App Store's Top Charts but are big, bold hits with me. Happy New Year everyone!