Friday, 17 April 2015

Kids' app review : Toot's Harbour

Have you discovered new preschooler show Toot the Tiny Tugboat on Channel Five's Milkshake! and Cartoonito yet? The official website explains : "Toot’s job is to lead big boats into the Harbour and out to sea, drag barges inland along canals, rescue ships in distress, fight fires and generally work his little propeller off helping the inhabitants and visitors of the bay. The trouble is, Toot isn’t that experienced. He’s a rookie at all this and is prone to make mistakes and even neglect his duties in favour of a bit of fun. Luckily, he learns quickly and is always keen to rectify his slip-ups. Conjuring up a world of salty sea winds, melting ice-creams, flapping bunting and beaming sun, Toot the Tiny Tugboat transports its young viewers to a classic seaside holiday destination. So batten down the hatches, sound your horn and get ready to set sail with Toot the Tiny Tugboat – a tiny tug having big adventures! With his rallying cry “Heave ho! Let’s Go!”, Toot shows children that they are capable of big things, no matter how small they are."

Those all sound like great values so, even without knowing the TV programme, Pierre was excited when I told we had a new app to review featuring Toot the Tiny Tugboat. His first reaction was "oh, it's Balamory" when he saw the rows of multicoloured houses ! As a grown-up, I thought the graphics looked quite simplistic and less defined than many of the high tech apps we've been playing with lately, but Pierre had no qualms at all and jumped straight in.

The first activity was free play, sailing around the harbour, getting to know all the other seafaring characters and collecting up rubber ducks and starfish along the way. 

The app also has two mini games : a Towing Game (with two different control options) and I Spy, where you can peek through the Harbour Master's binoculars to help spot all the familiar Toot characters dotted around the harbour.

The brightly coloured pictures and simple games are appealing to young players and we also loved the seaside background noises, such as surf lapping the beach and seagulls squawking overhead. I'm sure it would be even more exciting to fans of the show.

There's not a huge amount of content and it's very simple so I'm not sure how much staying power it will have, but at the moment Pierre is having great fun with it. The £2.99 price tag seems quite high, compared to similar apps that we've reviewed, but there are no ads and no in app purchases to worry about.

star rating : 4/5

Disclosure : We received a download code in order to write an honest review.


  1. Pricey! my daughter loves the programme though

  2. This looks like a lovely app, it's worth paying for just to miss out on the adverts. x

  3. Interesting app - thanks for the review!! Just gave my mum an iPad for her and my nieces to use (they live with her), but I have no idea about what kid's apps are any good and nor does she, so reviews like this are a great help to us in finding things to keep the young ones happily occupied. :)

  4. This sound lovely! I going to check it out!