Bottom Line: This is a fun and engaging app for kids that thrive in a digital learning environment that has simple tasks and quick rewards. Kids start small with words like "cat" and "ant" missing the letter "A" and as they progress, new items like houses are earned and larger words with more than one letter missing are given such as "lemon" and "cherry". There are no time-limits, so as long as a child handles a busy screen well, this is a good educational reinforcement.
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Minimo Town is a cute builder game intended for kids five to nine where they spell words to earn coins and items that help grow their towns from a simple house to an entire city. Each time a child spells the item needed by completing it with missing letters, the item appear and can be used to make neighbors happy and saw down trees for suburban sprawl. In the middle of everything is a recycling area where children can trade in letters not needed until the appropriate letter is given. For instance, if a user needs to complete the word "cat" and the "a" is missing, but only a "d" and "e" are shown, simply dragging one of those letters to the recycling will show a new letter. The letters shown are contained within each level and earned as gameplay progresses, so a first-time player will only see the letters needed until after a few goes, then "b's" and "c's" will appear in time.
As coins are earned, they are shown in the piggy bank area at the top of the screen as well as progress towards the next building. In the meantime, kids can open the menu at the bottom of the screen to shop for items they want placed around their neighborhood like park benches, sidewalks and light poles. As gameplay progress, new areas are unlocked as well as new items that can be purchased once the player has earned enough coins.
The game is set up with young children in mind and includes visual hints for what actions to try. There are a few things left for kids to figure out on their own, including tapping on slime left by furry little monsters that reveals the need to spell the word "clean" to clean up the slime with a hand vacuum. I ran into only two bugs while playing this before the game was released globally. First, if a user turns off "social mode", the game got stuck giving only "b's" when a different letter was needed. Second, the construction item at the bottom of the screen looks like a claw game to move objects, but I had no luck using it. Since I was playing pre-release, I was not able to test how the social function of the app works. I will check it out after release an update readers on that as well as whether the bugs have been corrected, which I am sure they will since the developer has been helpful in the past.
As for how everything looks and is set-up? The characters are cute to watch wondering around, the town itself is cheery looking with bright, but not too bright colors and pleasant background music. I found navigation to be easy as I'm sure tech-savvy kiddos will as well. For game-based educational reinforcement, this is a good buy and as soon as the bugs are corrected, I'll be happy to bump up the star rating on this app.