‘A Boat Message’ for iPad is a storybook-style app for children ages 4 and up. It is a quiet-time adventure about an origami paper boat that sails off to a variety of adventures with the mission of writing a letter.
A Boat Message is a finite, 16-page storybook. The story, the graphics, the music are all geared for young children, preschoolers in my estimation. However, it assumes the user can read. You must read the story in order to know how to interact with the screen.
Some screens require no interaction and the “next” arrow doesn’t appear for a few seconds to give you time to read the text. Only a very quick reader will be done before the arrow appears.
Other screens require you to interact with the graphics before moving on. Often the object that you are to manipulate is highlighted with a glow to identify it. But where it is to be placed is not so obvious, and you must read the text to have any idea of where to put it. With enough trial and error, I suppose you could find the sweet spot. But I imagine this to be very frustrating to users who either can’t read the text or didn’t understand it. Even I was unsure on some screens.
This app has great potential. I think it could benefit a lot from a toggled “read-it-to-me” option. And maybe a highlight glow of the destination for objects after a certain amount of time has elapsed.
In all, it’s a nice quiet-time app for small children. But I think this is an app that is somewhat missing its audience. I also think it’s a bit high-priced for something that takes less than 5 minutes to complete and doesn’t have much repeat value.
- Fun graphics that provide visual interest
- Comes in English and Spanish
- Doesn’t rotate with the iPad
- Would benefit from a read-it-to-me option
- Must read the story to know what to do