Saturday, August 03, 2013
With the new Disney Planes movie coming out next week, there's bound to be a renewed interest in the vehicles that started it all: Mater, Lightning McQueen and the rest of the cast of Cars and Cars 2. Although I'm disappointed that (Spoiler Alert!!! Well, sort of.) the Cars gang does NOT make an appearance in the movie, Planes is billed as "From above the world of Cars....", and you can't miss the similarities (all the cars in Planes look like they belong in Cars, all the planes in Cars look like they belong in Planes, and all the boats, blimps, and forklifts look like they belong in both worlds! So kids are going to want to revisit the Cars and Cars 2 stories. And just as kids will be reliving the story of Dusty Crophopper through the Disney Planes Storybook Deluxe, what better way is there to revisit Cars than with the Cars 2 Storybook Deluxe?
Cars 2 Storybook Deluxe came out a few years ago, but I only reviewed it recently, so it was interesting to see how the functionality compares with the newer Storybook Deluxe releases like Monsters University, Wreck-It-Ralph and Planes. After playing around with it, it seems to me that this app is halfway between the regular, bare-bones e-storybook app and the more recent, more engaging, full-featured Storybook Deluxe apps.
Kids will definitely enjoy the storybook section of the app -- like all the other Disney e-books, it offers a choice of read-alone/read-along/voice recording modes, and it has great artwork and character voices. There aren't as many interactive features (i.e. animation or movie clips), and instead of swiping their fingers, readers touch backwards and forwards arrows to turn pages.
Make sure you tell your kids to keep an eye out for the puzzle icon that appears on select pages throughout the e-book. If they click on it, they will be taken to a puzzle game where they can reconstruct the illustration they were just looking at (note, the green doodles in the photo below are mine; I added them to the screen shot to show you what to look for!).
Likewise, if kids see a paint icon (see the photo below; again, the green doodles are mine), they can click on it to be taken to a painting game.
The puzzles and painting games are nothing new, but there is one feature in the painting app that I haven't seen before: a "rainbow" palette tint that brings the artist's rendition of the scene to life wherever you touch your finger. How cool is that?
The two games included with the app are as good as any of the games in the newer Storybook Deluxe apps. The first, Tokyo Lights, is a memory game that reminds me of Bop-It or Simon Says. Players have to imitate colored light flashing patterns that increase in complexity and number as the game goes on. It's really challenging -- and addicting -- even for me!
The second game, Mater's Tire Toss, reminds me of Angry Birds: players try to slingshot one of Mater's tires into a barbed wire fence strung with hubcaps.
Players tilt their device to get the tire to hit as many hubcaps as possible (that's how you score points) and keep the tire up as long as possible. Again, I thought this game was great -- very addicting and a lot of fun.
Cars 2 Storybook Deluxe definitely isn't as snazzy as the newer Storybook Deluxe apps, but the 2 games are so great, they save it from being "just an e-storybook". And at $1 cheaper than the newer Storybook Deluxe apps, so it means affordable fun for the en-tire family :)
Disclosure: I received a free download of the app for review purposes. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.