If you are looking for an app with a bit more “texture” you’ll find Loopy Lost His Lettuce is really unique. The visuals are truly original and the handmade freeform crochet style used to create each object is very pleasing and colourful. It looks like a painting!
On starting the app the start screen appears where you can select Story or Games, you can click on the Loopy the snail which will start moving and finally select For Parents – tap into this and you’ll find unprotected links to see the credits and connect to Facebook and Twitter.
Loopy Lost His Lettuce is an interactive adventure story about a snail called Loopy who lost his favourite food. He departs on a journey to find his precious green lettuce and finds himself travelling through the seasons and meeting more colourful friends along the way.
As most of the storybooks, if you select Story, you are offered two modes to choose from: Read to Me and Read by Myself. After tapping one of these you need to do yet another selection: Easy, Medium or Hard. At first glance it isn’t clear what the levels of difficulty refer to, is it the reading that can be easier or the game I’m going to play. There are quite a few reading steps until you actually start the game and pre-readers and early readers will need and adult’s guidance.
Going back at the start screen and choosing Games you will see a screen where you have presented 6 games to choose from. To choose a game you have to click on the game screenshots. Some get lost in the background and might not be as easy to distinguish. Once you select a game you’re taken again to the screen where you have to choose Read to me or Read by Myself, than once more to choose the level...I think there are too many steps until you actually get to play the game. The 6 mini-games keep you engaged throughout the story and players can identify different characteristics of the seasons through the friends Loopy the snail encounters:
• you get to help a Bee collecting pollen in the spring by tap & holding – hand eye coordination
• collect baby butterflies by tapping for Momma Butterfly in the summer – timed activity
• help a Sneaky Squirrel to shake the trees and collect acorns in the autumn – risks are that younger children can drop their device by shaking and tilting
• you need to find your way out a maze game- tilting
• you rebuild the Snowman– tilting &dragging
• you have to sort out snowflakes by matching them – memory game/cognitive development
The main difference in difficulty is the speed the objects move on the screen. Some of the games don’t have a time limit or are not scored – that makes it difficult to measure improvement. Parts of the instructions will need to be explained to pre-readers even in the Read to me mode (actions like tilting, shaking) and we think older kids might quickly get bored with the simple challenges.
I found the sounds and the voice over clear and thought the narrating speed can help with developing and practising attention and listening skills. We liked the Australian accent of the female reader but there is no option of changing the voice. Ideally we would have liked an option that will allow parents to record their own voice and use the app as a tool for bedtime stories. The font and text size make it easy to practise early reading, but some can argue it can get lost in the vibrant background and doesn’t display properly all the time or make the screens look busy.
We think the app is visually unique and that the storyline will engage players. Toddlers will require assistance and might have troubles working the Menu as I think it would be difficult to use for pre-readers. The app is more entertaining than educational and will grasp children’s’ attention once they get used to it. It teaches them about teamwork, friendship and helps develop motor skills and early reading. We gave the app 4 stars EAS Rating, as it is well priced and kids will find it vibrant and interactive and to be honest visually is unlike anything we’ve seen so far.