Flea Symphony

Common Sense Media says

Clever rhythm puzzle gets challenging quickly.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Flea Symphony begins as a simple game to play, but it ramps up in fits and starts with easy levels juxtaposed next to hard levels. It's also tricky finding your way back into the game if you explore the numerous in-app links; in some cases, players have to quit the app entirely and restart to get back to the game. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

There are several in-app links that take players out of Flea Symphony, including links to featured games of the day (complete with bold "Free!" or "Download Now!" verbiage and images). The app contains five worlds, but only one comes with the initial purchase; the remaining worlds cost $.99 each to unlock with in-app purchase.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Flea Symphony has some sharing and social media concerns. On the app's first screen, kids can access four buttons that take them out of the app, each with less-than-intuitive ways of getting back. These include a person icon that links to the featured games of the day (with big, bold letters saying "Play Now!" or "Free!"); a gift box icon to iTunes' login screen; a trophy icon to Apple Game Center, which requires Apple ID login, and an info button in the app's settings with links to the app's publisher and developer. Furthermore, after each successfully completing Flea Symphony level, there's a prominent Facebook icon to Flea Symphony's Facebook app page, which requires a login.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Flea Symphony is a challenging music puzzle game based on rhythm, physics, and strategy. The game is multilevel and quickly increases in difficulty, and has high replay value. The theme is an old-time flea circus where players bounce fleas off musical instruments that are mounted on intricate mechanics -- all in rhythm to a picture-based music timeline. The game's not forgiving, and often, quick two-finger motions are needed for successful gameplay. Still, the synchronized images, sounds, and strategy can rope you for a high-wire rhythmic challenge. Parents should know that the app has options to share via social media and fees to unlock higher levels.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • probability

Science

  • motion
  • physics

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • logic

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Imaginative and strategic music puzzle game quickly increases in difficulty. Kids can easily get roped into aligning musical instruments to match the graphic music notation and rhythmic patterns. Sights and sounds are outstanding.

Learning Approach

Kids align graphic music notation, rhythm, and mechanics to advance through complex musical puzzles. Kids are empowered as they exercise listening, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination while exploring this unique puzzle game.

Support

No centralized help page; picture-based instructions appear with new game features. A musical timeline (similar to a musical staff) shows players when they match the rhythm. In-app instructions come in eight different languages.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • patterns
  • probability

Science

  • motion
  • physics

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • logic

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn music notation, rhythm, and mechanics. They're introduced to graphic notation, a notation that uses pictures along a musical staff. The distance between pictures determines the song's rhythm. More space means more time between beats; closer pictures means beats are played more quickly. Kids can exercise listening, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination by moving the instruments to match the notation on the musical staff. Kids can also explore basic physics by maneuvering the game's mechanisms. While the game's pacing might frustrate young players, overall it's a good introduction to rhythm, strategy, and mechanics.

This Learning Rating review was written by Kim Alessi

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What's it about?

The game begins when a flea is blown out of a horn. Using trial and error, kids move musical instruments to bounce the flea into a red bell -- all in time and corresponding to pictures notated on a musical staff. Off-rhythm bounces show up as a blue line where the beat's too early or late. When instruments are properly aligned, the flea bounces in rhythm, which highlights the notation and advances players to the next level. Each world brings more intricate instruments and mechanics, making the game increasingly challenging.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

FLEA SYMPHONY is all about rhythm, physics, and timing. The game is very imaginative and its sights and sounds are great (for even more stunning visuals, Retina iPad can download the Retina asset pack, which is available as a separate 90 MB download). While the game's objective is simple, Flea Symphony is a tricky time-based, trial and error puzzler. The pacing of levels is sometimes odd, with easy puzzles followed by really challenging ones. In either case, the picture notation musical staff is indispensable because it gives kids a visual rhythmic phrase to match -- if your beat's a little early, lower the instrument; if your beat's a bit late, raise it up some. It's really rewarding when everything lines up -- the game lights up and players are washed with a short but very pleasing rhythmic symphony.

Families can talk about...

  • Music is made up of individual notes which, when played together, makes a song. Talk about how music can be written down using notes or other forms of representation.

  • Explore the branch of physics known as mechanics by bouncing a ball off different surfaces. Ask kids to predict how a ball will bounce on flat, angled, and curved surfaces.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$.99
Release date:November 15, 2012
Category:Music Games
Topics:Music and sing-along
Size:47.30 MB
Publisher:Majesco Entertainment
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.1 or later

This review of Flea Symphony was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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