With their colorful characters and playful, yet realistic, graphics Toca Boca‘s iOS apps for kids are always surefire hits with iPad users of all ages. In less than one year this Swedish-based developer has created ten must-have additions to any app library. Toca House, the newest release, is a universal app that includes a series of mini games which take the weariness out of housekeeping.
Kids can iron, hang pictures, mow the lawn or deliver mail — and that’s just for starters. There are a total of 19 mini-games in Toca House, but each time a child opens the app they appear in a different order, and after 10 randomly selected chores, the apps workday ends.
If a kids wants to play again, the app will let them, but this gentle nudge to kids to stop playing is the exact opposite of kids toys that make noise to regain a kids’ attention after the child has moved on to something else. Toca House knows your kids will want to play again. They don’t have to trick them into it.
The app is most similar to Toca Doctor; however, instead of working ones way methodically through a digitized human body fixing scrapes and healing wounds, this time the order that the mini-games are presented changes. While it’s possible that this might frustrate some children, others enjoy the unpredictability of the game.
Users move through the house using intuitive swipe gestures. The player meets a different resident in each room including the adorable Pug that delivers mail.
Download Toca House from the App Store for $1.99.
What I liked: Toca House has Toca Boca’s unparalleled aesthetic. The app’s colorful, yet clean GUI should be any child’s first lesson on Scandinavian design. First, Toca Boca then Marimekko and Eero Saarinen. After 10 chores, the day is done, and the app gently nudges kids to do something else.
What I didn’t like: Toca Boca characters are always a little odd looking, but I think they might have gone too far with the yellow, hairy animal guy. The app only works in landscape mode and doesn’t respond to the accelerometer, so when I opened the app it was frequently upside down.
To buy or not to buy: If your kids love You Gabba Gabba, they will probably dig Toca Boca too. Toca Boca has a gift for highlighting what makes everyday activities, like vacuuming or doing dishes, magical in a child’s eyes. Toca House engages children in imaginative play while still letting kids have the screen time they crave. The app is aimed at children under 6, and unlike Toca Hair Salon or Toca Kitchen, older kids might be less interested.
- App Name: Toca House
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
- Category: Games
- Developer: Toca Boca
- Price: $1.99