Bottom Line: A simple yet somewhat engaging set of games targeting children ages 2-5 to foster skills such as shape recognition and matching.
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As always when reviewing preschool apps, I was assisted by my pretty little princess (today she was actually a cowgirl-princess-fairy-dinosaur). When we sat down to play Jack and Jill's Preschool Adventure by Arista Games, I was expecting to walk her through the app the first time or two, only to find out that she had discovered the game on her own earlier in the day and was already quite well-versed in how to play. Little imp. But finding out that this app was straightforward and intuitive for her definitely started this review out on the right foot.
To start off, the player chooses whether to play as Jack or Jill. Then, the player has several choices of costumes for either player. For Jill, you can choose a princess, a ballerina, a pirate, a cheerleader, a fairy, or a super-hero girl. For Jack, you can choose a pirate, a super-hero boy, a firefighter, a cowboy, a policeman, and an Apache Indian
- Color recognition game where the player must choose the requested color of balloon.
- Counting game in which the player must count the candles on a cake and then choose the corresponding number.
- Shape matching game in the night sky, involving basic geometric shapes
- Shape matching cloud game, involving more complicated shapes like a dog, a top, a wig and more (I didn’t pick up on the fact at first that they were also all three-letter words, but there you go. I’m pretty sure my three-year-old didn’t make the connection either.)
- Fruit tree game, choosing fruit that corresponds with the requested starting letter.
- Card matching game that also teaches alphabet by having the user match fruit with its beginning letter.
After completing every second game, the player gets to choose from one of three packages containing a surprise, which is then put into a toy chest (which my little one promptly renamed her treasure chest).
The graphics for this game were very simple and basic, but in a good way. Things interacted smoothly and were quite pleasing.
The sound effects and voices were a little irritating to me, but they held the attention of my little one, and kid-approved sometimes trumps mommy-approved. Something that IS mommy-approved: lack of ads or in-app purchases. Bonus points for that.
I do wish that there was some kind of end goal that the player was working toward, or even levels of completion, rather than the seemingly endless loop. We played several times today, and after awhile I began to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
While this game is targeted towards kids aged 2-5, I would say that it probably skews a little to the younger side of that group. My three-year-old enjoyed this immensely while playing, but did become bored fairly quickly because it was not as challenging as some of her other favorite apps.
I was a little bothered by the blatant gender bias in both the costumes and the prizes that were awarded to the players. I know that sounds a little funny coming from someone who consistently refers to her daughter as “princess,” but just because she’s MY princess doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be able to choose to be a firefighter.
Ultimately, this app, while not the most exciting one we've ever encountered, will probably be a regularly visited game on our iPad over the summer to help the princess/firefighter stay brushed up on her preschool skills.
Kelli wishes she knew how to juggle. Not that she has any plans for it, but it could come in handy. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee in order to complete this review in an expedited manner.