Review of LeapFrog My Robot Friend App…
My family goes way back with LeapFrog products. When my daughter was about 4 years old, we were still living in the Netherlands and had limited access to English-language educational tools. So, we purchased a LeapPad the next time we visited the States. That was so instrumental in introducing phonics to my daughter and, to this day, we still recall some of the cute sound bites it played.
Eight years have passed since then and I had assumed she grew out of whatever LeapFrog had to offer. That was until I learned of the My Robot Friend App for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod). Using a series of ‘program cards’ children (ages 9+) must figure out how to maneuver their new robot, Alpha-1, through various 3-D obstacle courses. Doing so will help them sharpen their skills of problem-solving and math as well as introduce them to basic programming concepts.
After completing the informative tutorial levels, the player gets to take their robot ‘home’. Waiting there is a conniving and unwelcoming cat, intent on making the robot return to the factory it came from. The entire game comprises of Fat Cat’s obstacles and your robot’s overcoming them, with the help of various gizmos and upgrades. Throughout the game, the cat makes curt remarks that come off kind of brash. You could say he’s kind of ‘catty’.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: There are a lot of explosions and tons of shooting involved. You are only destroying stuffed animals (players are assured that they are sewn together again later) and other robots but the audio sounds like that of a full-on action movie. Hasta la vista, Plushie!
You can have up to four player profiles and each can be customized with its own avatar. It’s probably better to leave ‘burping’ off most of the time. It might incite a few chuckles at first but, after the fourth or fifth belch, it just becomes gross. In total, there are 80 levels to be played in My Robot Friend. Levels get difficult very early in the game. At first, my daughter would just look a the course, decide it was too hard, and give up. It took a few turns of me trying to work with her through the levels before she did more on her own. It would have been nice to choose a difficulty level for the main game. The loading time between screens / menus takes a while and, in ‘kid time’ 30-50 seconds can feel like forever.
Passing levels successfully and attaining certain goals will unlock other features and award players with virtual coins. These can be used to buy clothes, hats, face paint, and voices for your robot. The ‘letter’ shirts are especially cute and funny. New dance moves can be unlocked as well. Dance moves?
Yep, Alpha-1 can get down on the dance floor with some hot moves and beats. My daughter LOVES this! It cracks her up every time. Plus, each dance move is given a silly name like the Snow Skier, Mr. Pencil, Blarney Stone, Hamster Wheel, etc. Dance Party is just one of the three mini-games included. The other games involve using programs cars to either spell words or get all the monkeys in time. Those two were totally uninteresting to my daughter and the words were way too easy. That was fine since the awesomeness of Dance Party made up for it.
LeapFrog My Robot Friend can be downloaded at http://clvr.li/MyRobotFriend for $3.99. This cost includes all content and there are no in-app purchases. It’s educational yet fun at the same time. With so many education apps geared toward younger children, I was happy to find one that appealed to my 12-year-old daughter. She was engaged and it was as if I could see the gears in her brain going while trying different programming strings. Hey, even I got stumped on a couple of levels!
For such a content-rich app, $3.99 is a bargain and seeing your child learn with a smile is priceless.
I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective but content and opinions expressed here are all my own. To learn more about the app, visit here #CleverRobotFriend #spon