Bottom Line: A hide-and-seek game with favorite fairy tale characters. Beautiful graphics and a lot of potential, but the app doesn't provide enough info to kids who are unfamiliar with these stories.
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No ads and no in-app purchases, but does contain external links to social media and iTunes for additional titles by Knbmedia.
Find Them All: Fairy Tales and Legends from Knbmedia opens with a short explanation of how to swipe and listen for directions from the guide, Sun, who narrates and shows a picture of a fairy tale character users are to find. Some of the 20 characters included are Little Red Riding Hood, The Queen of Hearts, the Tooth Fairy and the Ogre. With each character found, a card is earned and players are brought closer to unlocking the camera where additional play items are found. The number of characters to search for varies depending on how many visits and average between 14 and 19.
Once unlocked, the camera is used to photograph story characters, to hear a sentence or two about them and to create jigsaw puzzles. The cards collected give users the option to hear the characters' names in four languages: Spanish, English, French and German. Gameplay gets more difficult in the next section when users must find all of the characters before night falls or find them by sound with the help of a light (called a “torch” in-app). Cards and photographs are saved for future visits in accessible sections on the home page. When players have found all 20 characters, a “surprise” is unlocked that allows users to download and print a booklet of the cards. If kids don’t want to share their finds with one another, separate player profiles can be created and saved.
The illustrations are colorful and intricate. For instance, the Queen of Hearts wears a detailed gown of red and white festooned with hearts, and the Ogre (pronounced “org” in-app, for some reason) has enough personal detail to make users wonder if they know this guy. The landscapes are parallax in presentation, meaning the foreground and background move at different speeds to give the illusion of depth. The landscape illustrations are just as detailed as the characters presented and have lush details, including tiny dragonflies, beautiful flora and houses any child would love to plunder.
The puzzle feature is accessible after the camera is unlocked. By shaking the device, users can create as few as two or as many as 42 pieces, depending on the amount of time the device is shaken. As with the rest of the app, this sections works well technically and when a piece is chosen, the rest disappear temporarily while placement is made. My only trepidation about the jigsaw puzzle is having a young user shaking an iPad. A simple button option or setting would be welcomed by users who don’t want their devices plopping on the floor accidentally.
As beautiful as this app is in terms of graphics, parents that are looking for a fun way to introduce fairy tales to children should start elsewhere. The app depends on prior knowledge of the stories and does not give enough information through gameplay to help little users understand the characters. Although a picture is provided for hide-and-seek and a sentence is provided about characters when the camera is unlocked, the information given is scant, as in "The Ogre is a very evil giant and sometimes has magical powers." There is a picture quiz that would hold more substance educationally if it were able to ask questions concerning storylines, which are not thoroughly provided. Instead, there are questions like, "Which is scarier?" when comparing the Frog King to the Queen of Hearts. The comparison can go either way to a young child unfamiliar with the folklore.
Once the game is complete, users are told they can play again or take more pictures, and this gives the impression that when a user comes back, he can come back and take pictures — not so. Although all the character cards and photos taken are saved, each visit to the game requires searching for characters until the camera is unlocked again, and this becomes tedious very quickly.
I must mention the narration since it is an integral part of the game and necessary since there is no text involved. The narration is grating. What was probably once a lovely British voice has been electronically manipulated to a high-pitched and robotic sound. I think the developers were shooting for an other-worldly or elvin sound, but the effect was not achieved. That sound combined with the repetitive and odd pronunciation of “ogre” as “org” made it a big turn-off to me as a parent who is forced to listen while my child is exploring the game.
Overall, I think Find Them All: Fairy Tales and Legends has taken on too much in a single app to be successful. I really struggled with whether to give it even three stars, and finally decided its graphics alone were worth an extra half-star. Each of the characters from the popular fairy tales are rich and have good stories with lessons to pass along, but those stories are not included. Instead, users are given a gorgeous album of interesting pictures they may not want to revisit. Slimming the app down to one or even just a few stories and providing more information for each will go a long way to adding depth and value to the app, which I think has a lot of potential after an overhaul.