The last time I did a music app blog, I was using an iPad 2. This time, the Retinal display on the new iPad really kicks things up a notch, and there’s almost a new standard that beautiful graphics will bring.
Little Fox Music Box – $2.99, available for iOS
If you’re like me and are completely in love with the storybook app, Goodnight Safari, I think you’ll really enjoy Little Fox Music Box. For one thing, the graphics are downright stunning, with beautiful hand-drawn-like textures and fine details, in some scenes mixed together with an effect that looks like layered paper.
The app can be played in either English or German. Users can select any one of three songs (London Bridge, Evening Song, or Old MacDonald), which open up gorgeous scenes of animals and people doing various things while the song plays. Lyrics appear at the top of the screen, and users have the option of toggling the karaoke mode on and off.
I like this app for the fact that little screen-jabbing fingers will be kept busy for quite a while because it’s so entertaining. There are all kinds of surprises when pressing objects or characters within the scenes, and they naturally reset themselves so there are no blatantly weird continuity loops (like now you see it, wait a bit, then revert back to start position). Characters will actually walk forwards, then backwards. If items are tossed between two characters, pressing them again will cause them to be tossed back the other way. Scenes can also scroll horizontally, so on either side of the centre screen, it feels like there’s a half-screen more real estate on which to jab and play. And there are surprises everywhere.
My favourite part about this app, however, is the Fox Studio. Users can check out Fox’s music room where there’s a melodic lineup of frogs, birds, bottles, cans and teapots to play with. And it’s super impressive how well everything is timed in the sound design (when you press the speaker for three background jams) so that there’s never really a bad sequence or note out of place.
With headphones, this might just be a great app to play while waiting for food at a restaurant. For bedtime, Evening Song has a really calming lullaby effect.
The iTunes app description recommends Little Fox Music Box for kids aged 2-6, but I’d say 2-4 might be more appropriate.
Guess With Jess – $2.99, available for iOS
This app has been out for a little while, and while it’s not as musical as Little Fox or some other apps in this blog series, it has a music element and it’s gorgeous. The theme song also plays on a continuous loop (unless you mute it), so … there. The specifically musical element is game where users have to repeat the sequence of instruments played.
There are eight different activities in this game, these being Big Questions, Guess It, Join the Stars, Difference, Painting, Hide n Seek, Music and Jigsaw. Most of the activities have easy, normal and hard level options, so the app can actually legitimately span an age range of 3-6.
Guess It involves simple questions, which at first I thought perhaps required prior knowledge of the television series characters, but they’re fairly straightforward. When users don’t answer in a timely fashion, the proper card actually starts to wiggle as if for a prompt. Jigsaw, Painting and Difference are self-explanatory; Join the Stars is a connect-the-dots type game; and Big Questions leads into three more mini-games. Hide n Seek involves scrolling horizontally to find characters hidden in the mid-ground.
If you have a long plane ride sometime in the near future, I highly recommend preloading Guess with Jess (and a pair of headphones) as part of the on-board entertainment lineup.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Gorgeous Musical iPad Apps.