Isopod: The Roly Poly Science Game – iPad App Review

What do you know about Roly Poly, or “Pill” bugs? We know they roll up into a little ball when they get scared. We know they are good house cleaners for spiders. But, do you know their scientific name? Did you know that they part of the isopod family and a distant relative to the Giant Isopod, which can reach more than a foot long? Find out about the Roly Poly, the Wolf spider, and more with this comprehensive, educational app. If you think you’ll be bored learning about bugs around the world, think again. This app also features a fun tilt-to-play game that offers hours of fun for everyone.

Playing the game is fairly simple. The Roly Poly bug crawls onto the board and rolls up in a little ball. Players tilt their iPads around, trying to bump into Tiger beetles. Bumping into the beetles will make them fly away, and ultimately save them from being eating by Wolf spiders. If you successfully save them, you will unlock new information about bugs and humans in the Santa Cruz, CA region.


The Wolf spider may be on the hunt for the Tiger beetle, but that doesn’t mean he won’t cause the Roly Poly damage. Accidentally bumping into a spider will reduce your health and eventually kill you. There are also tiny Argentine ants that will sap much of your health if you bump into them.

The ladybugs and butterflies will help you save the beetles. Bump into a Seven-Spot Ladybird to regain health. Roll into a Smith’s Blue Butterfly for temporary invincibility.


As you complete each level, you will unlock information about bugs in the area. For example, you can find out more about the Smith’s Blue Butterfly by completing the second level. When you tap the “Learn” button, you’ll find out all about the butterfly, including where it lives, what it eats, and you can read a short story about its life.

There are two additional worlds, each with three levels. In Cape Town, South Africa and Brisbane, Queensland Australia, you can unlock levels to learn about bugs and humans in those regions as well. The additional worlds don’t come free, but you can buy them through an in-app purchase for $2.99. There is also a “Teacher’s Version” for $4.99 that comes with all levels already unlocked.


There are 24 different creatures to learn about with 60 pages of educational content, including photos, definition of terms, and links to more information. There is also a link to additional printable material that includes PDF files of crossword puzzles, quizzes, games, and more.

This unique app is an incredibly easy way to help kids learn more about the world around them while offering a fun break from traditional educational environments. They can play games with the reward of learning about nature.

What I liked: There is a lot of educational information in this app. Even the free section is a worth at least a couple of days of class learning.

What I didn’t like: The user interface is not entirely intuitive. You have to unbury features by tapping here or there. I’d like to see a straightforward list on the menu page for easy and quick access. I also didn’t like that the Teacher’s Version is two dollars more. Why do teachers have to pay more to easily education children? They should get a discount, not a fee.

To buy or not to buy: Teachers and parents of kids in third or fourth grade will love this app. There is a lot of information about nature around the world and children will enjoy the simple game included with the app.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik