A game based app aimed at improving the users English through sound rather than spelling.
The premise of this app is really good. Its aim is to allow user a fun way to improve their English through sounds in words rather the actual spelling of them. For many people, children and adults alike, spelling can be one barrier to improving literacy and although there are numerous apps on the market that profess to being to do this they all do work on an element of traditional literacy rather than looking specifically at phonemic knowledge of sounds. This app therefore, aims to do just that alongside it being a general knowledge word based game.
On opening the app you are welcomed with a contents page made to look like a deck of cards. This card like visual carries on through the game to give the feeling that this is actually a card game on a tablet. You are given 4 different buttons to select from including Options, Scoring, Author’s Note and Play. The Options tab takes you to information about how to play the app. The instructions themselves are set out in centred fashion with no paragraphing. Unfortunately they are also written in such a way that it feels quite confusing, even for someone that is quite proficient in the English language. The app is trying to fit a number of markets including the beginner English market but the instructions certainly don’t make it easy for someone of this ability to access it. I would have preferred there to have been pictures explaining how the game is played to make it easier to understand. It feels as though there was only one page allowed for the instructions so everything needed to be fitted on to this instead of thinking about what was actually need to make the gameplay as easy to understand as possible.
The next tab on the contents page is about the scoring and unfortunately this suffers the same problem as the instructions page where the information is not clear enough to make it completely clear. I can imagine a number of users not looking at this information and instead playing the game straight away and trying to learn as they play.
The third tab is the Author’s Note which gives some information around the background to app and who it is aimed at. It appears to be trying to appeal to many different people rather than having a clear view of who it is actually for. From beginner English through to Word Gamers and Vocabulary Buffs I feel it is hoping to appeal to everyone rather than being clear on a set group and developing the app around those users’ needs. The outcome is then evident in the gameplay which lacks this identity and creates a lukewarm experience for each group rather than a fully-fledged game for a set group of users.
Once you have clicked on the fourth tab, Play, you are given some more instructions about how you can access the game. Again, this is a little to confusing to get fully but there is also an option on this page to change the number of players from 1-6. Once in the game you are given two cards, the left hand of which you click on to flip over. On this card there are a series of statements that refer to a word which begins with the sound given at the top of the card. Depending on how the user wishes to play the game, slight differentiation in difficulty depending on their ability, they guess the word based on their knowledge of the initial sound and the statement given. Once the user has selected the level they wish to play at they make a guess at the right answer. Once they have done this they then click on statement and the right hand card flips over displaying the correct answer. If the user has got it right they then select the tick under the word gaining them a point. If however they have got it wrong then they will select the cross and they won’t get a point. Once the user has finished with that card they can the select the next turn option, which depending on the number of players, rotates to the next person. At any point during the game the user can check the scoreboard to see how many points they have got and the percentage they have got right to questions attempted.
The game itself is simple to play, although it does rely on the user to honestly state whether they got the question right, and the premise of using sound rather than spelling is a good one too. However, in trying to cater for too many different groups of people I don’t feel it succeeds in being a strong enough app for any one group. The game though is easy enough to play and can be ‘dipped’ in and out of.
Overall with a stronger focus on one set of users this app could be really beneficial i.e. beginner learners of English as a second language but can still be enjoyed as a simple word game.
From the Developer
This is a fun, competitive, educational vocabulary game based on sound cues and definitions. The degree of difficulty of each word is designated by a color code (green/orange/red). The player reads the definition and guesses the word answer. The last definition has the “Beginning sounds” at the END of the word and a player has the OPTION to play this word or not (for this word only, a point is deducted for an incorrect answer)
✔ 500 cards with 2000 definitions
✔ 3 levels of difficulty allow for inclusion of younger players as well as
accommodating for differences in adult language proficiency
✔ Based on “beginning sounds”, not spelling (letters)
✔ Choice of single player or 2 or more players/groups
WHAT MAKES OPTIONARY UNIQUE?
In the English language we often tend to focus on the spelling of words. BUT, meaning and pronunciation are the critical skills. For language lovers at all levels there is always pleasure and satisfaction involved in learning new vocabulary (hence the great appeal of crossword puzzles etc.) This game is different in that it focuses on sounds and definition rather than spelling. This new game format allows us to learn while having fun.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Optionary Lite is now available in the App Store! Now you can enjoy a limited Optionary experience for free before deciding whether to purchase.
AgesCollege/University (18+ Years of Age)
Primary School Apps (7-11 Years)
Secondary School Apps (11-14 Years)
Secondary School Apps (14-18 Years)