We recently received an email telling us about a new kids' app called Alph and Betty’s Topsy Turvy World. The creators proudly call it a "motion adventure book", saying that it's nothing like all the normal interactive animated storybooks out there. I was intrigued and they kindly provided a code to try out the app and see what we'd think.
I was immediately struck by how much there is going on on the page. Sometimes you have one or two things to click on in a picture, but on this app, it's packed full of quirky little details. The fun graphics with lots of strange elements really make you want to explore it all and start clicking around. I wasn't really sure where to start but it's all very intuitive and if you miss something, you can easily come back to previous screens.
The official blurb explains : "The series revolves around Alph and Betty, a rather unconventional old couple who live in a ramshackle house full of their inventions and unfinished projects where there’s always something new and exciting to find. Embedded in the pages of the story is a mini platform adventure with simple puzzles and over thirty fun mini-games based on aspects of the national curriculum for literacy Key Stage One, including letter recognition, phonemes, rhyme and alliteration."
This educational aspect is what really appealed to me. It's cleverly woven into the story so that it makes sense to go looking for things starting with a specific letter, for example, and it all just seems like part of the fun, rather than an obvious educational exercise. The Madhouse Mini Testers didn't even notice that they were working through the alphabet and thinking about how words were spelt - they were just having fun frantically trying to beat the clock in the I-spy games and enjoying making Betty slide and jump her way around the loopy tuba machines !
We're still a long way from finishing the game so I'm sure there's still loads to discover but so far, we've really liked what we've seen. And I do really mean "we" because I must admit to picking up the app at idle moments and having a play on Alph & Betty myself, just to see if I can spot things that the kids missed !
It costs £1.99 which is really good value because there's a lot of content. It's apparently the first in a series so I'll definitely be looking out for the sequels.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £1.99
for more information : https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/alph-bettys-topsy-turvy-world/id779519807
Disclosure : We received a code for the app, in order to write an honest review.
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