App Review – Cyberchase Shape Quest

cyberchase shape questI chose to use the game Cyberchase Shape Quest! by PBS Kids.  The reason I chose this game is because I wanted to use a game that was available on multiple devices.  This game supports Apple IPad, Android Tablet, and Kindle tablet.   At first I thought this was a wide range, but on closer look I can see that it is still exclusive to a tablet.  I did download the game to my IPad after reading the 2 reviews available (one great and one said it did not work).  There were 5 people who rated the game in total and it had almost 5 out of 5 stars.  I can’t say for certain what the experience would be on all devices but I can speak to my experience with the IPad.  The game is visually appealing with good graphics and I can see that a child would like it.  It also has fun music playing in the background with lots of sound effects.  One odd thing that I did not realize about the game is that there are 3 games within Shape Quest: Patch the Path, hide and Seek and Feed the Critters.  For Patch the Path the user has to print off a map from the PBS website and hold the IPad up to the map.  This seemed like a hassle for game users, particularly children, and I would predict that the map becomes the problem of the parent and that holding an IPad camera up to a map to play a game is perhaps more challenging than an IPad game should be.

There was no tutorial, and perhaps there should have been, especially with the printed map which could be confusing for students.  The other parts were fairly simple to figure out if you had played games on an IPad before.  It also started simple with the games, easy levels and simple tasks.  I think that students get some level of satisfaction out of the game.  Each time they play an activity the pass or fail and can retry the level.  Levels are unlocked when the previous level is passed and students get a rating for each level (out of 3 stars).  There is a lot of visual and audio feedback for correct and incorrect moves letting the student know immediately if they are doing well.  I also think that the content was well masked to be fun.  While the player did have to carry our geometric tasks – for example feed the animal by using a sling shot motion to bounce the food off of walls and aim it at the animal’s mouth – it seemed more fun than geometric.  The content was very educational.

While I do think that young children would like this game, I think that it has a very narrow audience.  It caters to young children and children learning about geometry but it certainly has the feel of a young child’s game and I think junior and intermediate students would pass on playing this game.  I also did not like that it had external parts (the printable map).  I like that it is available on multiple devices but it does cater to a narrow audience.


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