Sep 4, 2014
“One upon a time…”
For kids that grew up on the western side of Africa, the term “story time” more than likely evokes fond memories of life-forming tales told by an elder in the evening… stories that highlighted ethics and the need to be good. At the center of so many of these stories was the tortoise, an animal both celebrated and derided for its cunning. These were more than bed time stories; they were inter-family and even inter-age events that helped shape the moral compasses of the whole community.
The concept even bred a popular TV show that a lot of Gen Xers grew up on, Tales By Moonlight. It’s in this spirit we get to behold Adventures of Tortoise, an interesting storybook and puzzle app.
If reminiscing about crafty tortoise stories is a pastime, then this fable application will most likely be a fun adventure. It manages to bring one of the better known tortoise stories to life in a modern way, and is able to add elements that take it a bit beyond being just a digital storybook.
The graphics are bright and very kid-friendly, highlighting the pertinent parts of the story in simplistic fashion, and melds well with effected narration. The animals are anthropomorphised in an endearing manner; the UI is simple; in the started story, the navigation buttons are intuitively placed.
The application gives options as to how it can be used: one can read it, or have it read it out, or simply automate the moving and vocals. Even if the last option is selected, one can still use the navigation buttons to speed things up.
The story itself is a familiar African tale, one loosely based on the classic Greek fable attributed to Aesop and commonly referred to A Bird in Borrowed Feathers. The story line is tailored to appeal to younger audience, and without spoiling too much, I think credit is due the developer for adjusting the outcomes to fit modern sensibilities. Towards the end of the story, there is a small puzzle to be solved; I liked the little addition which added a different feel to the application.
If I am to complain, it’s about the shortness of the story. While there is another tale that can be unlocked with real cash, the first one is almost too short. While this might be purposefully done to account for the notoriously short attention spans of the target demographic, I know one kid who wanted more.
Still, I like the concept; bringing these stories to life on Android is a worthy project, but the developer needs to know he/she/they’ll be held to the promise of more. I… I mean my daughter… wants more.