Grandma’s Garden Review

Grandma’s Garden Review

Oct 24, 2012

Mobile devices run the gamut when it comes to functionality. Beyond entertainment and content consumption, they can be great teaching aids. I found that Grandma’s Garden from Noodlecake Studios and Fairlady Media fits the bill in this regard, providing plenty of playful learning opportunities for the young and young at heart.

Grandma’s Garden is a simple, colorful foray into numbers, colors, the alphabet and shapes. In addition, matching is also part of the game.

The UI worked for its target demographic, with big buttons and spread layout. I thought the developer did a good job of replicating sounds reminiscent of a supportive grandma, and the collective look was able to keep my soon-to-be three-year-old’s attention. I noted that the celebration for a job well done was well received too. Basically, Grandma’s Garden is spliced into senses-stimulating mini games. Counting eggplants for instance, was as simple as touching each eggplant. To get Grandma clapping in he next stage, I had to pick the letter matching a missing one.

Wrong answers yielded new opportunities, so solving by elimination was a reasonable means of solution. I found out that my daughter lived to water Grandma’s plants and make her do a funky dance every now and then.

I especially liked the color quiz. These seemed to be random; my daughter and I were asked to tap all flowers of a particular color. Another favorite of ours was the memory matching, which was a colorful remake of memory card games.

The tasks seemed age-appropriate, but I did wish there were more, and that there were a few less predictable combinations. I also thought a little bit more educational animations would have been great.

As a fun learning tool, Grandma’s Garden surely hit the spot, if my daughter’s reaction to it is any indication. We have problems with her now trying to physically give Grandma a kiss, but there are worse things to stress out about.

All in all, I found it to be a good game with plenty of upside.

OutNumbered Review

OutNumbered Review

Jul 11, 2011

Puzzle games sometimes work best when they’re stripped down to the barest of bones. That seems to be the philosophy behind OutNumbered, a math based puzzler from GoodApe. In it, you’re presented with a grid of numbers. You’re also given a number at the bottom.

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to use numbers in the grid to add together to make the number at the bottom. Once you’ve done that, those numbers from the grid disappear and you’re given another number to aim for. Clear all the numbers from the grid and you move on to the next one.

It’s a really simple system, and it works quite well. The more sums you can make with the grid numbers, the more points you get, which means you have to think on your feet if you want to aim for the highest scores.

OutNumbered manages to be one of those rare games that are both fun and helps you to learn. Sure, the sums you’re creating aren’t exactly taxing, at least not at first, but the game makes you think about what you’re doing, rather than showing you the easiest option straight away.

The game looks a bit old fashioned when compared to some of the more expensive apps on the Android Market, but it plays smoothly and the touch screen interfaces all work rather well. These are only minor issues, though, and they do little to sully the user’s enjoyment of the product.

It might not be exciting, it might not involve large men hitting or shooting each other, but OutNumbered is a successful little game nonetheless. It has a game plan and it sticks to it, and it’s all the better for that. It won’t change the world, but it might make you a little bit better at adding things together, which is no mean feat in itself.