Mobad Games has once again brought a 3D book app to the iPad for a storytelling adventure your child will not soon forget. It begins not unlike Gilligan's Island, with a group of innocent tourists going for a short boat tour. Lots of interactive elements and light animation enhance the story nicely, along with dozens of fun items to find. A detailed list of the hidden 'extras' can be found in the page-guide and includes pieces of the map of Monster Isle, which can then be viewed at the end of the story.
Settings for this title include the ability to turn hints on or off, silence the background music (a familiar tune from Mobad's previous apps plays that is nice enough, but on a rather short loop), and even hide the text (which blocks some of the illustrations). Interactive elements are fun, although most only add a bit of movement or a word or two of exclamation from the main characters, not necessarily reinforcing the storyline.
After finding all of the hidden elements, a full map of the island is then visible. Every page of this book is also in 3D, using the accelerometer to make the story come to life. This is especially effective for giving a sense of bobbing in the water when the crew is on the boat. If the reader tilts the page, they can also see a bit more of the scene. Text is presented on nifty little scrolls in an easy to read font that highlights as read. The app also has simple arrow-page turning, nice navigation settings and educational enhancements like "tap-to-hear" for any word in the text.
Overall this is a well-crafted and fun story about an adventurous family. The storyline isn't especially scary, but may still be less ideal for bedtime simply because of the interactivity. For any other time of day, this app is perfect, though. Children will love the stunning 3D enhancements, but underneath all the special effects lies a great story with a delightful surprise ending. Recommended.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 5 - 9
The Summers family is on a boat ride that starts well but soon becomes an adventure. First the perfect weather becomes stormy. The captain tries to sail home, however the ship (Lollipop) is swirled around in a bad storm, landing on a deserted island where the crew and passengers awake.
The castaways begin to explore the jungle since the ship is wrecked beyond repair. As they look around they hear a roar from a large volcano on the island. To find out what the noise is about, they split up into two teams, encountering scary creatures along the way. Soon the teams encounter new weather, even snow (and the Abominable Snowman, of course).
Battling sea monsters and dragons sends one team into a cave ... but that isn't safe either. Soon both teams have retreated back to the beach, where they actually encounter even more scary animals. However, the Summers family has a little boy, Finnegan, who is not quite so scared. He tries to get a closer look at the monsters. As he (and his little dog) run through the jungle toward the volcano, they trip over a branch, which removes a splinter from the Volcano-monster's foot.
At that, all the monsters stop making scary noises and become friends with the castaways. They even agree to help the stranded people find their way home. One very large monster carries them out to sea and makes sure they arrive safely home. When they tell their story, they keep some of the secrets to themselves, hoping to visit Monster Isle again someday.