Wednesday, June 1, 2011

iPad App Review: Spot The Dot

The other day, I received a direct message through Twitter from the good folks at Ruckus Media Group asking if I would be interested in reviewing their latest iPad app, Spot The Dot. As you know, I'm a huge fan of the iPad and how it has helped my daughter learn fine motor skills, language and self confidence -- so I eagerly agreed

Spot The Dot is aimed at toddlers and preschoolers and based on pop-up book author David A. Carter’s best-selling book One Red Dot. The idea of the game is to find the different colored dots in a series of increasingly difficult, eye-popping, interactive scenarios.

I'm always conscious of how frustrated Little Miss can get with a new game, so I downloaded the game and gave it a try after she went to bed one night before presenting it to her. I intended to play only the first couple levels, but the game is addictive! Before I knew it, I was struggling over level 10, my glass of wine completely untouched on the kitchen counter!

Level one was simple enough. A text screen and audio instructs the user to "spot the red dot." After tapping the red dot in the instructions (reinforcing that you know what to do), you are presented with the first screen:

Spot The Dot - Level 1: Find the red dot.

Other than the mesmerizing pattern, level one does not include any "bells and whistles." All in all, it's the perfect beginner level to help reinforce the rules of the game. The following levels are a little bit different...

My favorite level (and Little Miss's) was level three -- "spot the blue dot." You are presented with a series of red circles that you have to tap to "turn over." As the circles flip, they make a fun clockwork sound.

Spot The Dot - Level 3: Spot the blue dot.

After going through the app myself, I was a bit worried that some of it was going to be too difficult for Little Miss. The first three or four levels are fun and straightforward, but as you get to the end of the rainbow and beyond, you are presented with trickier interactions. For example, in the purple dot level, you must locate all the pieces of the purple dot and assemble it before you can move on.

Little Miss surprised me by getting through that level and beyond with minimal coaching. It wasn't until we hit the brown dot level and beyond that the frustration set in. At this point, I'm going to have to say that the levels are just too difficult for her... but then again, a lot of apps we play regularly were too difficult when we started playing with them -- so I still have high hopes for this one.

Spot The Dot - Level 10: I had a hard time finding that white dot!

After playing with Little Miss for nearly a half hour (a huge amount of time for the attention span of a preschooler), I did find one inherent flaw in this app. The game has no memory of the levels you have already completed... so, if you need to stop for some reason (or if little fingers mysteriously press that iPad menu button), you have to start all over. I personally found losing all our progress a little demoralizing -- even though Little Miss didn't seem to mind.

Pros For This App
  • The bright colors and friendly audio make this game very appealing to both kids and adults.
  • Visual cues reinforce the task at hand (colored dots in the instructions and in the menu bar across the top of the screen).
  • Kids learn colors, fine motor skills, listening, and problem-solving.
  • The hidden dots are "re-set" after each game play, leaving a lot of opportunity for replay without getting bored.

Cons For This App
  • Age range is a bit higher than the developer indicates -- the more difficult levels (brown through white) will definitely need adult coaching.
  • App price ($3.99) is a little higher than I usually like pay for a preschool app.

Note: I'd like to thank Ruckus Media Group for giving me the opportunity to review their app. I received this app for free from Ruckus Media Group in exchange for my review. I do not work for and am not associated with Ruckus Media Group.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty interesting and very colorful. Of course now, I have to check it out with Tootles! Thanks for the thorough review, mommy. It looks like fun!