Apps for Money Skills Part 1: Counting Money from STAAPS Interactive

25 May You can pick from six activities

A friend on my Facebook group recently asked for some apps to help her son learn some money skills.  There are heaps of money apps out there, including general Mathematics apps that include some money activities, but many of them are specific to just one currency.  I have several apps on my iPad that use our Australian currency and others and I intend to write a review of each of them for you over the next week or so.

aussie kidsFirst cab off the rank is Aussie Kids Count Coins from from STAAPS Interactive. International readers, don’t let the name put you off, as there are three other versions available for the USA, New Zealand and Europe.  Each has a different name, but all use the same activities and all use both notes and coins.

Activities

There are six activities:

  • Pay for things – drag the exact amount of cash to a box to pay for an item.
  • Lemonade Stand – calculate the cost of a customer’s order by typing on the keyboard.  It is great for “mental Maths”calculations, but some children may need to have a pencil and paper handy to work things out.
  • Give Change – The customer pays for an item and you give them the correct change from the till. If you put too much change or don’t give enough, the customers will let you know and you can try again.
  • Piggy Bank – Smash the piggy bank and count the money inside.
  • Go Shopping – Spend an exact amount of money by dragging an exact number of items from a shelf. This is a pretty difficult task and requires a bit of logical thinking and problem solving.  The feedback for errors is supportive as it gives the child a clue as to why the answer is incorrect, e.g. “You haven’t spent enough money.”
  • Who Has More – Two creatures have different amounts of money. You need to tap the one with the most. Children can’t get off the hook by random choices, as they are then asked to add up the money for the creature they have chosen, and then both collections of money are totalled.

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Features

  • The app uses images of real currency.
  • The parent section show how many times your child has played each of the game modes.
  • You can change the difficulty level to restrict activities to coins only (parents section).
  • There is an incentive system that awards stars as children reach target in the activities.
  • The app is compatible with iOS 4.0 and above so will work on the original iPad.

Wish List

  • Individual profiles would be an advantage for families and for classrooms.
  • More feedback – The reporting system is only useful in that you can see if your child has been playing the game.  I’d like a little more feedback so that I could see if there were areas where they made lots of errors and needed more support.

Verdict

This is a great app for children who can already identify currency but need to practice the transactional skills involved with money, e.g. selecting change. The app is aimed at children aged 6 to 8 but some activities will be quite challenging even for children in upper primary.  Use of “real currency” images will help children translate these skills into real life.  The app is great value for the price.

As mentioned earlier, there are four international versions for this app. All of the apps are $2.49 Aus but prices will be different in other international stores. All apps are iPad only and require iOS 4.0 or higher.

Australia: Aussie Kids Count Coins

 

USA: Kids Count Money USA

New Zealand: Kids Count Money NZ

Kids Count Money: Europe

Mystery Word Town by Artgig Apps

21 May The townspeople have plenty to say.

mystery wt iconMystery Word Town is the latest app by Artgig Apps and is new in the iTunes Store today.  The app is a spelling adventure where children play the detective tracking down members of the Huevos Rancheros Gang and recovering lost gold in a ghost town somewhere in the USA.  Children enter and explore buildings, using their spelling skills as keys to enter areas.

Game Play

If you have either Mystery Math Town or Mystery Math Museum, you’ll be familiar with the game play.  You collect letters in each room or area of the building you are exploring and use them to complete words.  The goal is to find the required number of gold nuggets indicated by a little pouch in the top right corner, and to find the room with a wanted poster of one of the gang. Exits from each room could be doors, windows, trap doors, ladders or even just looking up or down.  If you are unsure of where you can go, a  little ghost floats in each room and you can drag it around to highlight exits.  You can tap on the floating letters in each scene to either complete the word or add them to your tool belt.  Letters you don’t use in one room might be handy in another.  As the levels increase in difficulty you may have to look in different rooms to collect the letters you need.  Once you have completed your goals you can move on to the next building.

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Game Settings

  • Three Difficulty Levels – There are three word lists available within the app.  The level 1spelling is about the level Mr 7 is bringing home with is weekly homework.  The other two lists look to be middle-primary in level.  Bearing in mind that Australia generally uses UK spelling, there was only one word in the app that we had issues with: favorite.  In Australia and the UK, we spell this word as favourite.  I find that when I highlight these things to my children, they have no problems.
  • Audio Hint Mode –  there are two modes to choose from:
    • Spell Your Own Words – Players can use any letters to complete a partial word. There may be more than one option, and there are no audio hints.  The correct word may not be in the word list but will be validated against an extensive dictionary.
    • Listen & Spell – The incomplete word is spoken aloud as it appears on the screen.  Children can hear the word repeated by tapping the sound icon in the word bubble.
  • Individual Profiles – I love apps where you can set things up for each child in your family or class.  Once you have created a profile, children can have a bit of fun creating an avatar by choosing hair, eyes/nose, mouth and skin tone (that can be a traditional tone, or any colour of the rainbow.)  You can set the difficulty level for each child within their profile.
  • Continue reading

Duckie Deck Homemade Orchestra

19 May IMG_4117

duckie deck homemade orchestra app iconMy children all loved banging on pots and pans and making noise with all sorts of common household things. Duckie Deck Homemade Orchestra brings this experience to mobile devices in a way that is fun for children and easy on the ears of those around them.  Helping me test the app was Mr 3, a proficient pots and pans player who has recently taken up playing the spoons.

Playing the Game

The two game modes let children play with a virtual orchestra, or with individual instruments.

Orchestra Mode

Eight “instruments” appear on the screen. As the child taps each one, the object animates and begins to play. The lovely thing is that all the objects will play with rhythms and melodies that complement each other, so any combination will be harmonious. A button in the corner will see a different combination of instruments selected. Mr 3 found it very easy to distinguish between instruments that were playing and those that were not, and he had a lot of fun experimenting with different combinations.

Individual instrument

In this mode you can choose an instrument then play with it, making your own rhythms and melodies. There are twenty different items to play with. These include toys, kitchen items, stationery and other items found around the house. It is great to see a few body parts included: lips whistle, fingers click, a foot taps, and hands clap.  Each instrument is played by either tapping on the instrument or screen, or dragging the instrument around to shake or vibrate.  You can see some of the instruments in action in Duckie Deck’s YouTube trailer below.

Things We Love:

  • The app is easy to use with intuitive controls. Mr 3 was able to play without needing any help from me and was quickly able to turn the instruments on and off as he wished.
  • The game spills over into real life and can encourage children to be creative away from the iPad.
  • There is a great variety of instruments, and we can find all of them in our house. Some of these you can grab and use straight away, such as pots and pans or keys.  Others require a bit of assembly, such as the glass xylophone with different water levels.  I’d never thought of making a xylophone from an egg carton and spanners, but we are going to give it a shot.  Some instruments are your own body parts.
  • The graphics are colourful and fun, with a clear layout that makes it easy to use for little fingers.  Mr 3 found the animations amusing too.
  • Unlike our real life homemade orchestras, this virtual one sounds great!  All the rhythms and melodies compliment each other. Also, unlike our real life homemade orchestra, you can control the volume on this one.

Verdict

Duckie Deck Homemade Orchestra is a great creativity app that will amuse children for ages as they experiment with with endless combinations of instruments.  The instruments selected are easily found in real life and children will be inspired to create their own real life instruments that will possibly not be as melodic, but will be great fun.

Developer: Duckie Deck
Universal – Requires iOS 6.0 and above
Price: $3.79 (Aus)

We Discover Africa: Safari Quest – an iOS board game for the whole family

13 May IMG_4140

safari iconWe Discover Africa: Safari Quest from Kindermatica is brand new in the iTunes store today.  The game combines elements of the traditional board game with an educational quiz that is suitable for all ages from preschool to adult.

The opening screen has an information button where you can see the rules of the game and find out what all the different icons on the board mean.  (They are fairly self-explanatory, but it is great to have a handy reference.)  You can also select your language from English, Russian, German, Spanish and Serbian.  You can also access this information at any time via the settings icon that appears in the top right of the screen.

How to Play

The game is played in much the same way as most board games:  spin the the dice and move your counter.  Your token moves forward to land on all sorts of surprises.  Along the way you collect special tools, answer questions, and take photos. There are also some shortcuts, obstacles and a few other surprises.  The winner of the game is the first to collect seven different animal photos and then reach the finish line.

Players need to select from 2, 3 or 4 players.  You can then set the icon for each player (male, female or computer) and the difficulty level for the quiz questions (easy, medium, hard).  Sample questions for each level are included in the slideshow below.  We found the questions to be interesting and challenging (at our various levels) and we also learned some interesting facts about the animals in the game.

Each player sees the board from their own perspective, and so the little search icon in the lower right corner will give you a birds-eye view of the board any time you wish to see where everyone is on the board.

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What I Love

Customising – I love that you can customise this game so that your younger players can play against older players on a level playing field.

Artwork – The graphics are beautiful and have a real African feel.  Everything from the Lion and Rhinoceros that greet you on the main screen to the wooden “stepping stones” takes you straight to Africa.

Wish List

Reference Materials – we would love to be able to read some information about each of the animals either before playing the game or after.  Some of the questions were really tricky, which made them interesting, and my children wanted to find out more.  I believe this feature is being considered

Verdict

This is a game that allows children (and adults) of different ages and ability levels to play on an equal playing field. It is a great way to learn about African animals and even more important, a wonderful game for some family “together time.” There are more than enough twists, turns and surprises to keep all the family interested and entertained. I’m also keeping this one handy as a pass and play game for long car trips, as I can guarantee my children won’t lose pieces as they pass it around our car.  The format of this game would be suitable for all kinds of subjects, so I hope to see more from the same developer.  Thanks to the developer for allowing me to  preview the game for this review.

Developer:  Kindermatica
Universal.  Requires iOS 6.0 and above
Price: $4.99 (Aus)

Understanding Math – Addition and Subtraction by appp media

2 Apr

understandingmath+-Understanding Math – Addition and Subtraction  is the latest Mathematics app from appp media and is the second in their Understanding Math series, based on  Jerome Bruner’s  Three Modes of Representation learning theory.  This app explores the concepts of addition and subtraction using different symbolic, visual and active representations.  As well as answering set problems, the app gives children tools to help solve their own addition and subtraction problems.

Each activity has been linked to the Common Core Standards for Mathematics.

Continue reading

Lasso Kid – Logical thinking games with a Christmas bonus

4 Dec The new Christmas set of puzzles is FREE.

lasso kidLasso Kid is a free logical thinking puzzle game from Kidcore Network that is aimed at young children but that  older children and even adults will find entertaining and challenging. Today I’m reviewing the iPad version of the app, but there is an iPhone version as well that has all the same features.

Poor Lasso Kid!  While he was sleeping, his animals escaped and he needs to catch them and rope them together.  You need to tether similar animals to a peg, trying not to run the rope through obstacles, and making sure ropes don’t cross each other.  The first few levels are fairly simple and are designed to introduce the main concepts of the puzzle, but later they get a little more complex with more animals, different types of animals (only similar animals can be joined together), more obstacles and more tether pegs.

 

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Continue reading

Duckie Deck Cleans Up – Apps to help kids learn about hygiene

26 Nov

Duckie Deck specialises in apps for the very young that combine education and fun.  This week I’m reviewing several of their apps over a series of posts.  The two apps I’m reviewing today deal with personal hygiene skills involved with brushing teeth and going to the toilet.

ddggDuckie Deck Gotta Go

Features: Gotta Go  takes children through the process of using the toilet. First they feed a friendly monster assorted foods. After a short time, the monster stops eating. Tap the nappy (diaper) to take it off. Our little friend jumps on to the toilet with a big grin. Tap his tummy and he will grunt as a rather colourful deposit drops into the transparent toilet below. Toilet paper appears and you tap and drag it through to help the monster wipe. Pull the chain to flush and then guide what must be the cutest poo ever through a simple pipe maze, then finish with a high 5 to your monster friend. (Honestly, it is difficult to describe this app without laughing, and Mr 3 is enjoying it very much.)

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Things We Love: The monster loves going to the toilet. He has a great attitude and is really proud of himself, so hopefully this attitude might rub off on some of our more reluctant toilet-trainees. Duckie Deck Gotta Go is a great way of reinforcing the steps being taught in toilet training and it provides good opportunities for discussion. It does not cover the hand washing aspect, which would have been great, but since the hand washing has always been the easiest part of the process, I don’t have a problem with its not being included (although maybe they should wash before the High 5?).  Lastly, you have to love the app icon:  blue happy poo anyone?
Verdict: If you have a little person who is learning to use the toilet or potty, this app might be a great one for introducing the concept in a fun, non-threatening way.

Duckie Deck Gotta Go - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Hygiene Essentials Bundle (3 apps for $4.99)

ddwtDuckie Deck With Teeth

Features:  Duckie Deck With Teeth is very simple to use: tap on a mouth to add teeth (that come in different shapes, then feed different foods to the mouth. As the food is eaten, the teeth become progressively dirtier. At any time you can grab the toothbrush and clean the teeth. The activity then starts again.

What we Love: Most of the food is very healthy, such as vegetables, fruit and a salad sandwich;  the one “sometimes food” is a biscuit (cookie). The toothbrush is available at any time, and children have to spend a bit of time cleaning the teeth.  The teeth get really dirty in a kind of gross way, which adds to the appeal.  Brushing those teeth and making them clean gives Mr 3 a sense of satisfaction.  If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can hold it up in front of your face and pretend it is your mouth (which is hilarious for small fry, I can assure you.)

Verdict: Duckie Deck With Teeth is a great app for exploring the healthy habit of teeth cleaning. Playing this activity with your child can help them learn vocabulary involved, and gives an opportunity to discuss why we need to clean up our teeth, and how long we need to brush our teeth for before we are finished.

Duckie Deck With Teeth - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $2.49
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Hygiene Essentials Bundle (3 apps for $4.99)

Duckie Deck Hungry Clipper (Not reviewed)

Duckie Deck has a third hygiene app, Duckie Deck Hungry Clipper, that deals with hand hygiene, encouraging children to keep nails trim and tidy with the hungry nail clipper.  I don’t have that app to review, but here is a link to the YouTube trailer.

Duckie Deck Hungry Clipper - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Hygiene Essentials Bundle (3 apps for $4.99)

Duckie Deck Play Apps – Games to play with friends

25 Nov Choose one of the activities by tapping a hand.

Yesterday I reviewed three Duckie Deck creativity apps.  Today I’m having a look at two more of their apps, each with six different play activities.  Both games are aimed at the early childhood age group, but could be suitable for older children with special needs.  Look for more reviews in the coming days.

Duckie Deck collection app iconDuckie Deck Collection

Features: There are 6 activities in Duckie Deck Collection:

  • Food -Pick fruits or vegetables then tap on the items to eat them. There are many different fruits and vegetables, so children can play for some time without a repeat of the same food. This is a fun way to introduce some healthy food options. You could have fun counting aloud as the food is picked or eaten.
  • Feed the Animals – Feed animals with a choice of three food options, only one of which the animal wants. If you present the animal with the wrong food it will shake its head. Feed it the correct food and it chews nicely and smiles. Along with the animals there is also a flower and the Zoo Keeper to feed.
  • Lightbulb game – This is a peekaboo game where children see a silhouette then tap on the light to reveal a friendly animated monster. Tap on the light again to repeat the game with a different monster.
  • Magic Hat – Tap on the magic hat to reveal a funny animated character or item.
  • Mix Up – this is a version of those fun games where you change heads, bodies and legs to make an animal match (or mismatch.) Mr 3 enjoys making crazy animals and doesn’t always want to match up the correct body parts, but if you manage to align 3 matching body parts, the game quickly randomises them again.
  • Clean up – Children drag cleaning items around the screen to mop, sweep, or vacuum the floor to remove grime and mess. This activity doesn’t have as much variety as the others and Mr 3 kept accidentally tapping the Back button as he moved around the screen.

You can see the app in action in the YouTube trailer below:

What we Love – there is lots of variety and little repetition in the activities, so children can play for a long time before they get “bored.” The app is very easy and intuitive to navigate, and Mr 3 needed no help to get around.

Verdict – There is a lot of variety in most of the activities. I particularly like Food and Feed the Animals, and I think these could be a great way to introduce some concepts of health and natural science.  The games are great for a single child to play but are even better when you play with a friend or adult.  In fact, your child will get a lot more out of these activities if they play with you and get to explore the concepts and language associated with them more deeply.

Duckie Deck Collection - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $2.49
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Cuddly Creatures Bundle (5 apps for $9.99)

 

DDSDuckie Deck Sharing

Features: There are 6 different activities in this app.  These include:

  • Toy Joy (Rocket ship) – you and three friends each have a different toy to play with, including a rocket, xylophone, drawing tool and an animal noise toy. Play with your toy then tap another child’s toy to swap. As they swap with you, each child makes a sound that would translate to “yes, okay!”
  • Win Win – A simple memory game that can be played one or more children. There are 12 cards in each game, and there are several themes to keep things interesting. Great for turn taking.
  • Pie in the sky (Birthday cake) – Take turns to decorate a cake then share it between 3.
  • Gimme Gimmie (Doughnut) – Three friends are sitting on a couch and there are three items you can give to each. Each child has a thought bubble with two items they would like. Try to give each child one of their preferences. This activity has some logical thinking skills involved.
  • Food (apple) – Four children sit at a table with empty plates. A random piece of food appears and is quartered. You have to give each child a piece. You can put more than one piece on a single plate, but the child that misses out will be sad. Once everyone has an equal share, the children cheer, eat their food, and a new item appears.
  • Scribble Dribble (Pencils)- Guided picture drawing where children choose from a selection of items and are guided through the drawing process with dotted lines, then colour the picture. You don’t need to be too accurate when tracing the lines. Mr 3 discovered that a simple swipe just touching a line is enough to complete a section, so children with fine motor issues might find this easier to do than other similar activities/apps.

The slideshow below shows some of the activities.

 

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What we Love:  Although all the activities can be played by a single child, they are well set up for collaborative efforts between children. Some of the activities, for example Toy Joy or Gimmie Gimmie, could be used to explore social skill issues of sharing and preferences. The parent information section has valuable information about how these activities can be used to help children learn about sharing. There are some interactive environmental elements in some of the scenes that add a bit more fun to the activities.
Verdict: This is a beautiful app and the six activities have been well-planned with their objectives in mind. There is a lot of variety so children don’t get tired of the same old thing.  Again, these activities can be used by a child on their own, but they will gain much more from the experience by sharing with an adult or other child/ren.

Duckie Deck Sharing - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99)

 

 

 

Duckie Deck Creativity Apps – Bird Houses, Trash Toys and Sandwich Chef

24 Nov Duckie Deck Bird Houses

Duckie Deck has a range of entertaining educational  apps for children aged 2-5. I’ve owned most of them for a while and have put them through their paces with my children, and I’ve been meaning to write about them for at least a year.  Initially I was going to review the lot in one hit, but I’m going to break it into several posts over a few days. Today I’m starting with some of their creativity apps, including their latest app, Duckie Deck Bird Houses.  Look for reviews of other of their apps in coming days.

 

Duckie Deck Bird Houses App IconDuckie Deck Bird Houses

Features:  Create the bird house of your dreams.  Select a tree to build on, choose from a variety of house styles and materials, then decorate with paint and accessories before your little birdie moves in.

What we Love: The variety of design options means that children can create a different house every time. The graphics are delightful, with lots of different colours and textures and a real textured “collage” feel.  There are some quirky accessories to add to the house that add opportunities for discussion and story making.

Verdict: The app is really easy to use, with lots of variety and fun little quirks that will make Duckie Deck Bird Houses very popular with young children.

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Duckie Deck Bird Houses - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – Requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $2.49

 

Duckie Deck Trash Toys app iconDuckie Deck Trash Toys

Features: Children make toys out of virtual recyclables, such as containers, bags, CDs and more. Choose an item, paint it, then add more recyclables to create facial features and body parts.
What we Love: Unlike similar apps where two fingers are used to change orientation of an object or to resize, Duckie Deck Trash Toys uses one finger only. Tap and hold in the middle of an item to move it, then tap on an edge and drag to rotate. This is so much easier for Mr 3 to handle than similar apps. There are no resizing options, but this didn’t seem to worry Mr 3.Duckie Deck trash toys creation
Verdict: This is a great creativity app for young children who haven’t mastered the art of multi-touch commands. I can think of at least one similar app with a few more bells and whistles, but that one is a little more sophisticated and is better suited to slightly older children. Duckie Deck Trash Toys certainly nails the needs of the very young user and might also be fun for older children with special needs. Images of your creations can be saved and used in other apps (such as story making apps) or printed. Sometimes playing with this app might lead to some real-life creativity with the contents of your household recycle bin.

Duckie Deck Trash Toys - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Inspirations for Real World Play Bundle (4 apps for $7.49)

 

Duckie Deck Sandwich ChefDuckie Deck Sandwich Chef

Features: Children pick a novelty sandwich (from ten options) then recreate the sandwich step by step. These are no ordinary sandwiches: children might create a clock, whale, boat, or clown sandwich, to name a few. They spread the butter on the bread then create the sandwich using healthy foods.

Sandwich chef choices

Lots of sandwich designs to choose from

What we Love: Each ingredient is presented as it is required, and targets appear on the sandwich to guide the child to correct placement. This is great for very young children as it helps to avoid confusion. Children don’t have to be super-accurate with placement either, as the items “snap” into place when they are near the target.
Verdict. The young children I’ve shown Duckie Deck Trash Toys to all love it. Mr 3 would be a little happier if there was a train option (although there is a clock and a car, so he is happy). We think it might be fun to have a free-play option where you get to design your own sandwich, but that might be better in a separate app, perhaps in a similar format to Duckie Deck Trash Toys. It is great that kids get to see all the different healthy food options, but we’d love to hear some of the names spoken aloud. Still, I see that as my job as I supervise Mr 3 as he plays. Not having any speech means that the app is suitable for all languages.

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Duckie Deck Sandwich Chef  - Duckie Deck DevelopmentPrice: $2.49
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Inspirations for Real World Play Bundle (4 apps for $7.49)

9 Letters

20 Nov

9 Letters App iconI am a big fan of word puzzles and usually have one or two on my iPad to do in those times where I’m doing that universal Mum thing:  waiting for my children to finish school or whatever activity they are doing.  I love word games and puzzles because they help keep my brain active, and my favourite are anagram games, particularly the 9 letter puzzles, so I was very excited to hear PKCLsoft was developing 9 Letters, and even more delighted when I was given a copy to review.  PKCLsoft is an independent Australian developer and a member of MOMs with apps.

 

How It Works

9 Letters is exactly what the name suggests: a game with 9 letters that you use to make as many words as you can.  The rules are simple:

  • Each letter can only be used once (although if the same letter appears more than once, you can use it as many times as it appears)
  • Words must be a minimum of 3 letters long.
  • Longer words score more points

In the top left of the screen is a pop out table with the total number of words you have found, plus a table indicating how many words of each length can be found.  In the example below, for instance, I have found 14 of 19 three-letter words, 3 of 9 six-letter words, and neither of the single eight or nine letter words.  You can tap on the table to hide or reveal it.  A running score is kept as you play.

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Options

There are several options to make the game easier, harder or more accessible, which can be turned on or off in settings.  These include:

  • Target mode – the central letter must be used in every word (usually a standard rule in similar games but optional here).  When target mode is on, the central letter is darkened.
  • Hint every ten words
  • Highlight valid words (a word appears green if it is valid)
  • automatic detection of ‘s’ endings (if you type a word and there is an available s to pluralise it, both words will be added to the list.)
  • apply time limit for each word
  • Sound effects and music can be turned on or off.
  • An alternative font is available
  • Display lower case letters

You can see how the game works in this YouTube video.


Apart from the free hints every 10 words, prompts occasionally appear to offer you the chance to buy a 7 letter word or a hint via your iTunes account.  I haven’t bothered with these but enthusiasts may.  Of course, your iTunes password is required to make a purchase, and you can prevent unauthorised in-App purchases (IAPs) but turning this option off in your device settings.

Things I love

The game is as fast or as slow as you want – If you turn the timer off, you can sit with a word as long as you like. Personally, I like the challenge of working against a timer, and I usually am playing during a quick break so that works better for me.

The huge variety of 9 letter words – I have several of these games and I enjoy them all, but for most I keep coming across the same letter combos all the time.   I’ve played 9 Letters for nearly a fortnight at every available opportunity (because I love to be thorough when putting apps through their paces for reviews….. and because it is addictive!) and not once have I come across a repeated word.

New vocabulary – While I recognise most of the 9 letter word solutions, some of the words are unfamiliar to me. I’m enjoying learning new words such as  empyreans and multiplet.  I’m pleased to hear that a future update will allow you to get definitions of words.  Lots of smaller words are unfamiliar, so if you put together what you think are nonsense words, sometimes you come up with a winner.

Handoff Feature – 9 Letters supports Handoff, Apple’s new continuity feature, so you can start a game on your iPhone but then transfer the same game to your iPad later.  You can see how it work’s in PKCLsoft’s demo YouTube video below.

 

Wish List

Definitions – This one is already in the pipeline, and I can’t wait to be able to link quickly to definitions of words.  I’m hoping this will not only apply to the larger words but some of the smaller words too.

Colour choices – The colour scheme is high contrast which is great, but I’d love the option to change it to my favourite colour – blue.  Not a biggie, but it would be nice.

Difficulty options – I’d love to be able to make the game harder (or not) by having an option to have a 4-letter minimum word length.  The 3-letter minimum is great, as most other games start at 4, but it would be fun.  Also, perhaps the option to reject the plural s, so that book would count, but books wouldn’t, (unless the central letter was an s).

Verdict

I love this game and it has become my “go-to” game when I’m having a break.  I’m enjoying the variety of words, the challenge level and learning new words.  Being able to turn off the target letters and time limits will make the game a little more user-friendly for some who might like to play word games but find most a bit difficult.  Scrabble and Boggle lovers will be sure to love it.

Secret Santa season is coming up and if you have a friend of family member who is in to word games, you could gift them a copy and I’m sure it would be much appreciated.  9 Letters is only in its first version and it is already wonderful, so I look forward to the future updates.
9 Letters - pkclSoft
Publisher: pkclSoft
Price:  $1.29 (Australia – 99 cents USA) until 26th November 2014, then $2.49.
iPad and iPhone (requires iOS 7.0 or later)

 

 

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