First of all, if you're wondering what an Augmented Reality book is, it's a very cool piece of technology (that, even as an adult, blows my socks off, so you can imagine how magical it is for kids !) which enables you to "bring to life" on your computer screen elements or scenes from your book by showing it to your webcam. I reviewed two Augmented Reality books quite some time ago - Fairyland Magic and Dinosaurs Alive - so that's a good place to start to learn more about the concept.
This time, we received a Moshi Monsters Augmented Reality book called Musical Mystery Tour. It's a hardback 32-page story book with glossy paper and brightly coloured images that takes you on an adventure to help rescue kidnapped pop stars.
As well as the fun story, the book is packed with Moshi Monster-themed puzzles and challenges, such as mazes, spot the difference pictures and Moshi Monster recognition challenges, which do rely on some prior knowledge of the characters' names and physical appearance.
But the main event is inevitably the augmented reality segments. Before you can start, you need to download a piece of software on to a computer that is linked to a webcam. I downloaded it to my laptop with no issues but it wouldn't run, sticking on the "loading" page. I tried again on Madhouse Daddy Mike's laptop and it worked immediately without the slightest hitch, so you should check that your computer has all the right technical specifications for it to run properly.
The inside front cover has a little pocket containing four CD-sized paper discs which you need to show to the webcam for the augmented reality to come to life. First of all, you can see the street from the book come to life. You can also watch a concert performance (and have the rockstar standing in the palm of your hand).
The third animation puts your face on the screen and has you battling monsters by smacking them away with your hands - giggles guaranteed - but the Madhouse Mini-testers favourite augmented reality section was the final one, that allows you to put Moshi Monsters hairstyles on your head.
Pierre in particular though this was hilarious !
The book will appeal to all Moshi-Monsters fans, principally because it is a fun story with lots of interactive challenges that propel you into the story. The augmented reality animations make it even more fun and will open it up to younger children, who would find the story and puzzles too challenging.
If you have a little Moshi Monsters fan in your midst, don't go away. I'll be posting a giveaway in just a moment where you can win two of the augmented reality books.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £9.99
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