Pretend play goes digital with Beck and Bo. While it’s being marketed as a game, it’s educational too. Kids can explore 12 different interactive scenes that range from the familiar, such as a trip to the grocery store, to the imaginatively far-fetched, like a jungle safari.
Beck and Bo’s aesthetic is playful and clean. The game’s splash screen has 12 icons that resemble stickers displayed on a background that was designed to look like corrugated cardboard and paper grocery bags. These inviting graphics are sure to pique a child’s curiosity.
To play with Beck and Bo, a child simply arranges elements however she wishes. Most kids will immediately put the sun where it “belongs” but they don’t have to. The elements will continue to bounce around until placed where they are designed to go. In this way kids have plenty of time to engage with the shapes and aren’t just rushed into getting the right answer.
On the other hand, kids will love that they get a star for completing a level, just like bigger kids games. And while Beck and Bo is geared toward 2 to 6-year olds, older kids will still enjoy playing with it on occasion.
The developer created each of the 12 segments with great attention to detail. Beck and Bo can’t ride their scooters until the player taps the traffic light turning the signal from red to green. Beck and Bo giggle and the narrator cheers for a the player as she shops for everything on the shopping list. This complexity generates both sustained interest while the child is playing and replay value.
Beck and Bo uses prompts to give instruction, which nonverbally communicate what kids are supposed to do. Images on the splash screen jiggle to get a child’s attention, while within a lesson an item will flash or a circle will appear of the item that needs attention.
What I liked: Beck and Bo teaches kids, but doesn’t have sacrifice fun to its educational goals. Kids can play in a particular lesson for as long as they like. I was also partial to the app’s crumpled paper-style graphics, which were both appealing and innovative.
What I didn’t like: I would have preferred to be able to control the background music, sounds, and object names separately. Users have no way to turn off the background music, yet muting turns off the sounds and the object name narration. Many parents may prefer to mute background sounds and music, but might want to keep the object name narration on.
To buy or not to buy: Parents will feel good sharing Beck and Bo with their children. It is well worth the price of the download.
- App Name: Beck and Bo
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Games
- Developer: React-in
- Price: $1.99