Sunday 29 April 2012

City of Friends app review

When we were asked if we'd like to review a new iPad app that teaches kids about the emergency services, I couldn't help but laugh. Talk about perfect timing ! A couple of weeks ago, the Madhouse Mini-testers got a bit of a shock when we went to the park at the end of our road and watched a whole house burn down. They were too stunned to even get excited when the fire engines turned up with sirens, flashing lights, big ladders and long hoses. And if that wasn't enough, earlier this week, my blood ran cold when a white-faced Sophie came running into the house, yelling "Mum, there's a lady on the car park opposite our house lying on the floor with her eyes closed and there's a man who can't manage to wake her up". I grabbed Pierre and ran outside in case I needed to call an ambulance but it arrived at the same time as I did. The "lady" was a young girl, about 15, who apparently ran over the grass verge in her heels, slipped and fell backwards, smacking her head on the concrete and knocking herself out. The ambulancemen gave her oxygen, put her in a neck and back brace and carted her off to hospital. 

So, an app to teach the kids about the emergency services ? Bring it on !

The app features Milkshake's City of friends programme, which has reached over 1.6 million viewers in the UK and is the 5th most watched show on Channel 5’s All Day Video on Demand service. It allows fans to interact with the show’s emergency service recruits, Max the police officer, Elphie the fire officer and Ted the paramedic, to solve problems and help people around their city. In its native Norway, the new City of Friends app is the number one app for children.

The app features the highly popular multiple mini-games format, which always goes down well with the Madhouse Mini-testers because there is something to appeal to everyone. The mini games are :

♦ Put out fires with Elphie
♦ Organize Ted’s First aid kit
♦ Fly the helicopter with Max
♦ Get to know City of Friends in a memory game
♦ Check out the emergency vehicles
♦ TV series movie snippets rewards

As usual, I left 2-year-old Pierre and 7-year-old Juliette to get to grips with the app by themselves to see how they got on and, before long, Juliette came to tell me that the video clips weren't working. I said that maybe she had to unlock them as she progressed through the games and she happily bounced back a few minutes later to say that I was right and she had unlocked some more.

The games are very simple but the Madhouse Mini-testers loved them, particularly the game where you have to put out fires with the hose and the matching game where you have to fit the various implements into the correct gaps in the first aid kit.

The video clips also appealed to them and are great to watch with them to discuss what they've seen (particularly if they've been watching real life dramas unfold before their eyes *ahem*) but once they've watched them a few times, they probably won't want to watch them any more.

The app target audience is pre-schoolers aged 2-6 which sounds about right (although 7-year-old Juliette still had great fun with it).

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £1.49

for more information :

Disclosure : We received a review code for the app.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

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