An Adventure of Our Own is an exceptional co-play app from a new development studio called Two Way Play. Their mission is to create interactive play environments for children to share with each other and the loving adults in their lives. These cooperative play opportunities are invaluable, making this app a great option for engaging your children in creative adventures that help them express feelings, problem-solve and make decisions.
Innovative ways to transform screen time into skill building in children are invaluable. This app for kids 6 an up does this (and more) with a storytelling style that provides lots of story ideas but no clear narrative besides the one users create themselves. The opening scene has a beeping alarm that children can identify and then pick a rescue mission. The app even asks young readers to use their own imaginations to predict what danger may lie ahead. Before tackling the rescue mission, the reader picks lots of fun gear for their adventure, including clothing, headgear and more. There is even a page for two people to take pictures of themselves with all this cool gear.
The story doesn't really have to end, either. After a dozen or so pages the adventure is complete but another one can be started that is as original as its creators. The simple illustrations are engaging, along with very light animation that mostly prompts the reader to move to the next decision point. There is so much to choose from, too, including funny items like a seeing eye crystal and GPS voice guidance muffs. This gives the app a lot of unique charm and makes it a top app for replay value. This could also be a delightful bedtime story ritual, redirecting the energy of the day into a final adventure.
While this is an exceptional opportunity for creative play, this app does have a few areas worthy of improvement. Overall it feels a bit unpolished, with simple drawings, imperfect audio and longer wait times for interactions to respond than many apps on the market. This doesn't necessarily hamper enjoyment of the app, but can be a distraction. The app could also use narration and word highlighting for the text, although this can be a big lift for programming and is not essential.
The two biggest issues with this app are definitely fixable though. First of all, it is very confusing when starting the story ... so many apps have intuitive instructions built in that we don't always know what to expect with a new format. I'd strongly suggest making the "directions" pages into the first few pages of the story, forcing adults to read through them before starting the adventure. Secondly, this app desperately needs some kind of navigation. There is no way to go back or go "home" to restart the book, requiring the user to "kill" the app to restart, which we discovered in testing to be an issue, especially when the app froze on one page.
Despite a few technical issues, An Adventure of Our Own is really charming. It is full of adventures you create yourself and a chance to get kids interacting not only with the screen but with each other. Overall it is an innovative concept for an app that scores high for originality and replay value. It would be a great addition to any home library of digital titles and an especially good buddy-reading app for children in school settings. Engaging our kids with adults and peers is such an impressive goal, so our hats are off to this talented team and their lovely new app. It's a great addition to the app world and one that points in a new, promising direction. Ultimately we hope for apps that bring people together and this one does it beautifully!
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The content of the rating/review is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Rebecca Pashia/Noelle Stoffel
Two Way Play, LLC
30 - 45 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 8
One of the most vital experiences in a child's life is interactive play. An Adventure of Our Own offers an opportunity for playful reading and back-and-forth exchange through Two Way Play!
An Adventure of Our Own is a special kind of interactive Appbook in which a kid and a parent--or another partner--can share an unfolding, in-the-moment experience together.
Through An Adventure, kids and parents create their own unique story. They will both read and play together. And they will interact, not just with the screen, but with each other!
Along the way, readers choose the elements they want for their story. They decide how their heroic adventure will go! Partners talk about their preferences, make choices and decisions together, and imagine how things might work. They learn about how each other thinks and feels. They work as a team to solve problems and carry out their plan. At the end, they reflect on how it all went, and how they feel about it.
The growthful learning experiences for kids through reading this Appbook are:
*in-the-moment, back-and-forth play between kids and their parents, or another important person
*expression of their own individuality--preferences and feelings particular to them
*understanding how someone else might think and make decisions
*collaboration in planning, problem-solving, negotiation and compromise, and decision-making
*cooperative elaboration of a fantasy or story along with a partner