When our Lexibook broke down over and over again, last autumn, a purchase I had made to make sure my boys played nice games when they were allowed to play on electronic devises (during weekends), we finally settled on abandoning the Lexibook idea, and go ahead and buy an inexpensive reading tablet instead. The bad thing about that of course being that we did not get the educational games, which the Lexibook came with, already installed and probably made especially for it. Also, it is a real nuisance for the children to have all the ads popping up all over. I think it is disgusting the way things work today. In every single game we download for it, we have to pay lots, to get rid of the ads. We can’t do that so one has to suffer through it and worry that the children might push on something they ought not.
Two weeks ago, I wanted to see what my husband had really downloaded on the tablet, because my youngest boy woke me up on a Saturday morning and the noise did not sound like a nice game at all. It was minecraft, which an older brother had saved up for, and my youngest was just sitting beside me blasting holes. Excuse me but what is he supposed to get out of that? So I asked my husband why he had not tried to find the games which were on the Lexibook. He said he had tried, but he had not tried hard enough. “Gubby’s” favourite game was making hamburgers. He did not really care for the part where you have to fill orders on time, which I thought was fun, but making and designing your own hamburgers and then taking screen shots of them.
That one I could find, but not another one which was funny and was called “Jump Frog Jump” or something like that. The frog was climbing ladders and catching flies at the same time. You moved him by putting your finger where you wanted him to go, on the different levels. At the same time, a dog ran up and down the levels and the frog had to avoid that dog or he would get smashed. After getting smashed or knocked off the screen three times, you had to start the game all over. Instead of finding that one, I found the “Tap the Frog” game and downloaded that for free. And I also downloaded the old version of it, also for free. Now, “Gubby” tried out the few games it came with and then wanted to see what was in all the green boxes, in a row beside the open games. How do you explain to a child who does not understand, that you have to come up to certain points, to be able to open them up?
Since he was loosing patience and wanted to play some other games, I asked him to leave the tablet with me and I would try to open up some games. Easier said than done. I have still not figured out what it is which gives you the points up in the right corner, which eventually amounts to the right number to open up a new game. It actually should say 90, to the right of the dash (because that is what our Tap the Frog says) and this person is 2 points away from opening up a new box and game. I have no idea what purpose the achievements have nor the rank. I am Rank 8: Field Marshal, but as far as I know, it doesn’t do anything or give you any advantage.
What happened that evening? I sat and played the frog game all evening and missed all sorts of fun TV-programs, trying to open up other games. Finally I managed to do so, to a very pleased “Gubby” but he of course just want more and more opened up. I am sorry, it will take time because I am not going to pay, to have them opened up. It does seems easier to open them up in this newer version of the game, than the older one where you have to save up 500 points, even though it doesn’t go quick enough for my boys, nor me. In the old version it goes at snail’s pace to save up points, since most those games are really slow and boring or way too advanced for “Gubby”, like dialing a phone number on time or Math. A couple of days after I had opened up the games in the new version, the tablet broke down. Since it was on warranty, we received a new one. Only now I had to start over again, trying to open up everything which had been open before. Second time around was not as funny, since I was annoyed at the internet and our account not recognising somehow that we already had the game and had played it. When I finally had fixed things last night, so everything was open again which had been opened before, I decided to get the game for my iPad 2. BIG MISTAKE. First of all, I had to pay 19:- for it (£1.49 , €2.03 , $2.21 ). Not a major fortune, right, so I guess it is alright, but considering that it is free for everyone else, I think it “bloody” cheeky for Apple to charge for it. And this is not all they charge for. Now and then, on the tablet version, you get a question if you want to earn free clocks by watching a video. I clicked on it every time the offer came up and the video is of another game and last about 5 seconds! That way you get 3 free clocks, which is nice when you are in a hurry to open up a game. I sat and collected 63 clocks like that last night which is why I could open up five games in one evening. And two more this morning. Apple does not offer you this option at all. You are forced to PAY FOR EVERY CLOCK! And I am sorry, I am not that of a dedicated fan!!! There should be a way to earn the clocks but there isn’t!
Alright, now on to the game itself. The first game is “Pop the Frog”. First you pop frogs wearing nothing, but then they wear caps which you have to get off before you can pop the frog itself and then the frogs get hard hats, which you have to crack before you can get to the frog. This is an alright game on the tablet and I have a pretty high score there but it doesn’t work on the iPad. The screen is too big. The frogs get too spread out on the screen andtoo big, and it takes longer to pop them because of this. Soon your elbow start hurting too, since you are moving over such a big screen. And if you get it to go fast, your screen freezes. Or it happens because you managed to tap on two frogs at the same time, by letting your finger do the work instead of your finger tip on the big frogs. How fun is it to have your screen freeze on you, so that you have to exit the game? Poor “Gubby” doesn’t like this game at all and he is 6 years old, I might add. He thinks one has to do things too fast, so in his view it is not a fun game.
The next game, “Jump the Frog”, was my favourite game on the tablet, which I let my children play on of course. I only play to help them open up new games. On the tablet this game is easier to control somehow. I am fast, I move by the water lily leaves in no time and then on to the mattress squares (?), grass turfs, the barrels, the beach balls, the turtle shells. No problems and I manage to not fall in, but if it happens, the frog is soon up again. I collect all the clocks and get the extra time. On the iPad, it takes forever before the frog gets out of the water after falling in and somehow it is more difficult to get an overview of what is up ahead so you quickly can ascertain whether to jump a two-step leap or a one-step leap. At the same time you have to move fast to get somewhere but so far, I have not got past the beach balls, which is a real nuisance because I want to see what is after the turtles.
The next game is “Paint the Frog”. You get a screen with two colours of frogs and you have to decide which colour to paint them, either or. Of course they are intermixed and in the beginning it is only a few but you get more and more frogs and more and more who are similar colour, so that it doesn’t matter if you make all the frogs blue or green. It will take as much time. It is usually better to go for a colour which is darker and stand out more. As with the pop the frog, it does work nicer on the tablet, since the are is smaller and you can use a lighter tap somehow. It is a fun and challenging game.
The next game I hated on the tablet! So I did not play it on the one which broke down. The “Fly the Frog” is what it is called and that frog flies alright on the tablet. All over the screen and it is almost impossible to have any control of it at all. It is certainly not flying where the bubbles are picking points and it misses the clocks among the bubbles. On the iPad this works wonderfully. There I have full control and by now I fly in the night sky, having scored 409 points! But my boys who are used to playing fast games like subway surfer, stays away from it, since they don’t think it is funny to get so little points, when they play it on the tablet. Too jumpy on the screen in other words. So, the boys could not care less that I worked hard to open this game up for them.
“Launch the Frog” is the next game and I have a really high score on this one, on the tablet, but the screen on the iPad is too big, for me to get a good score. It becomes quite a work out, trying to pop the meteorites off the screen in order, smallest number to the largest, when they sit so far apart on the iPad. So this is definitely a game which is funnier on the tablet. My children do not enjoy this one at all, since they can not think that fast, so me opening this one up, did not create any enthusiasm.
“Feed the Frog” brought on enthusiasm though, since this is a very funny game on the tablet. You can feed the frog very fast so when I need to open up a game, I play the games where I can be really fast. But that is the problem, it doesn’t really seem to make a difference. The points needed to open up games are collected in some other way, I think, than from being fast, it seems. This game on the iPad also becomes an excercise, since you have to move your arm back and forth pushing the buttons at the bottom, according to what fruit is on the conveyor belt. If you have to go between apple and orange enough times, you soon have an aching elbow again. The screen on the iPad once again being too large for comfort, for this game. And you can’t get up to the truly high scores because of it, like you can on the tablet, because there you can be really fast.
“Build the frog”, is the next game you can open up and I truly hate it. The only one in the family who can do it and sort of likes it, is “Gubby”. You tap on the screen or on the bars below. Then the crane drops the bar. But if it is dropped say three flats to the left, then those flats fall off. The bars go shorter and shorter, the more they get dropped out of line and it is nearly impossible to get them to drop in line. I have played it lots of times now and I have not improved at all. Then it is no fun! When you get down to one flat, most of them fall on the side, not managing to drop the one on top of a one piece flat, so you will burn all your seconds without accomplishing a single point. That really is no fun for adult or child alike, and it is equally bad on both tablet and iPad. With the iPad having the extra feature of the entire window closing down and another window coming up, say your e-mail window or an internet page you looked at earlier, but did not close down. Or your blog! Then you have to click back to the game window and push continue, but you get so shocked every time it happens that you are not ready to assume the game and lose big time. It has happened too many times for me now, that I avoid this game.
“Treat the Frog” is another game which “Gubby” thought funny at first, till he realized that it was a tricky one. And it definitely does not work on the iPad. You can see why, on the screen shot below. The frog is supposed to jump on the logs to eat the candy and pastry. He can jump up and down, diagonally, and sideways, but let me say that on the tablet he does not jump as fast as I tap the different logs and then you get a big red cross. When he has eaten the three treats, he gets new ones, spread out of course. And it just is not a funny game, since on the iPad the logs are too big, the distances between the logs too big and the program doesn’t follow your speed. So another wasted game, I opened up for both the kids and myself, on the different devices.
“Leap the frog” is really fun to play on the tablet. Unfortunately I could not find a picture of this one. What the frog is supposed to do, is to jump up bars that looks like the swing part you sit on, on a swing. But some are fake ones, looking very similar to the things he is supposed to jump on. If you jump on them, he falls down and has to come back, which goes pretty fast on the tablet, so you can still score highly, if you jump upwards fast enough and on the swings with clocks. Playing this game on the iPad is like chewing gum. You try to move the frog fast but the device will not let you. That is disappointing, when you can compare your score from the tablet!
Drive the frog, is really my favourite now. And on the tablet it goes quickly!!!! The frog kicks himself forward on a skateboard and you have to avoid cones. First red ones, then blue ones, then purple ones, then green, then orange… You also need to run over clocks to get extra time and right before a clock or right after it, are speed marks. Get on those and the frog gets shot forward in a high speed, so you can get further in the game. Here the iPad also works as slow as molasses. The frog hardly moves by the red cones. With every colour change, the game goes faster and faster, so that at the orange it is up to a really high speed on the tablet and the cones stand in trickier ways.
After this one, a blue box appear which do not exist on the tablet version of the game. It is called “Fight the Frog” and is something of the most idiotic I have ever seen. Two sumo wrestler frogs stand on a platform and you choose your champion and tap on him till he pushes the other one off the platform with his tummy. That is it. You get no points, the game just says that blue or red won!
“Double Tap the Frog” was opened at the same time, and this one is fun. You have to use both hands and you must tap two frogs at a time, in the same colour. Of course they are not always standing beside each other and mixed with lots of other colours. This actually works better on my iPad than on the kids’ tablet, since the frogs there do not want to respond. You have to push long and hard before they react, which means that I actually get further and get more points, on the iPad. For once!
The next one is also one which is fun to play on the iPad, but doesn’t work too well on the tablet, which is “Spoil the Frog”. The frog sits on one side and on the other side, candy, cookies, and other nummy things are thrown out. Some barely manages to get off the edge, others fly almost over to the frog, but you have to move the water lily leaf, so they can bounce and then go in to the frog’s mouth. At the same time you have to block the clocks from falling in to the water, because they mean extra time. As for me, I concentrate more on not letting them go, than helping the goodies bounce. For someone who was never chosen for a team in gym class, this is great practice, trying to have the leaf in the right spot! On the tablet, the colours were not as strong and I had a difficult time seeing where things would land and get it all to work, the way it did on my iPad.
The last game I have opened up was the worse disappointment, after the fighting frogs. The frog sits in a ball and the game is called “Bounce the Frog”. You are supposed to get that ball to bounce and hit tiny balls in the air, with fruit and with clocks. One tiny ball at a time. Well at the most I can get 15 points, because I can not get this game to work at all on my iPad. It is SO slow! That ball is NOT bouncing! And I have not been able to open it on the tablet yet, to see if it works there. I suspect that it might work a little bit better, but I don’t like these games that are just chance luck, like the bars being dropped on top of each other, where you can not really improve no matter how many times you play it.
What do I think about this game so far? First of all I think it is a disgrace that the only way to get clocks for the iPad version, is by paying for them. This game should be for free and either one should be able to earn the clocks easily by getting a new rank or some other way OR get them by watching commercials for other free games! It doesn’t have Game of Thrones or World of Warcraft status! If you can get it free for tablet, it should be free for all devices. Why should a person be punished for having chosen Apple for heaven’s sakes! It should be free for Apple, especially since it works so poorly for the most part. The only games which perform better on the iPad are the “Spoil the Frog”, “Double Tap the Frog” and “Fly the Frog”. For all the other games, Apple’s devices work too slow for it to be fun.
All in all, I would say that some of the games are really fun, others are fun, when one wants to take a break from the others, resting, but some are really drole. And since I am a newcomer to this game’s world, I must say that I don’t really approve of the fact that it is so difficult to open up a new game. Yes, I can understand the people creating these games wanting to keep people interested as long as possible and not having all the games to play from the beginning. It will make one come back and come back, trying to reach the points that will open up a new game. At the same time. Honestly and seriously: Who were these games really intended for? Hardly for adults, were they? They were like most games, created for children, who have the time which us adults lack, to play games. And how many children really have the patience and attention span to play it as much as I had to, in order to open up the games I did? Not my boys! They tell me, mamma, please play and open up some new funny game for us. And what happens? The same thing as for poor Dumbledore, headmaster at Hogwarts: He dares to try a Bertie Bott’s all flavours bean and once again he gets snore or ear wax flavour! My boys have been disappointed with most of the games I have been able to open up for them and have felt it wasn’t worth the wait.
For an ordinary tablet, I rate the game as a whole, a four for a grown up and a two for a child. There is no way for my 6-year-old and 8-year-old to get enough points for anything. For the iPad, I rate the game as three, because only three games work the way they should on it, at the level I am at right now, having 5 more games to open and two, probably silly, blue boxes.