Bottom Line: Where Do the Swans Sleep? is a story taking place in the dream world of a boy named Felix. Felix dreams he is a swan and takes a journey to discover where a swan would sleep at night. This app has lovely artwork and several interesting elements, but there is plenty of room for improvement to turn it into a well-rounded app.
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Our story begins as Felix (named after developer Felix Hofmann? Is this a dream he had when he was a boy?) falls into a dream world where he is a swan searching for a place to sleep. But where do swans sleep? Do they sleep high in the trees like the mama pigeon or in a hollowed place in a tree trunk like the squirrel? Do they sleep in a burrow like the sly, shy fox? Do they sleep in the pastures with the deer? Or even in a house like a person?
The user helps Felix visit each of these creatures as he searches for answers until he gets back to the house and sees his own sleeping human form. As Felix prepares to wake, we still wonder “where do the swans sleep?”
Our final task is to draw the last page of the story, using our own imaginations to draw the swan’s bed. This drawing can be saved and shared as part of a gallery on the developer’s site along with drawings from the imaginations of users from all over the world.
- The illustrations are lovely, and the perception of depth they have, thanks to parallax image technology, brings life to each picture.
- The original score is pleasing and serene.
- The option to draw the final page is a very nice touch that allows the user to be a part of the story.
- The presentation is a departure from the traditional page-flip format. The storyboard is laid out in such a way that the user moves in the physical direction of the story. To visit the pigeon up in the tree the user swipes up; to visit the fox down in his burrow the user swipes down. This might be a small distinction, but it does help to distinguish the app a bit.
- The story itself tends to drag in parts. While the nine pages of illustration are beautiful, there is at times excessive narration while looking at a single page. There are few interactive elements to engage the user as the lengthy narration begins to drag on. This situation could be improved by either adding some interactive elements or providing some additional pages of illustration to spread the story out a bit. In its current state, though, young readers may have the tendency to lose interest in the story.
- There is no option to view text either in conjunction with or separately from the narration. This limits who can benefit from the app and takes away any educational elements it could offer.
Because of these weaknesses, I can’t currently give this app any higher than a three star rating. While the app includes some really nice components, the whole isn't greater than the sum of the parts at this point in its development. I look forward to the next update!