Apparatus

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Challenging physics game; optional community has iffy stuff.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Some knowledge of the principles of physics and building is required, therefore the game is not very accessible to younger players.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Some user-created levels resemble sexually explicit body parts and sexual positions, and user comments may contain sexually explicit language such as references to "t-ts."

Language

There is no strong language in the content of the game, but user comments in the community section occasionally contain strong language like "s--t" and "f--k." Participation in the community section is optional.

Consumerism

There are links on the title screen to visit the developer's Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Mostly private. In order to access the optional community section, players must register with a username, email, and password.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Apparatus is a physics-based puzzle game where players build simple machines to solve level goals. Optionally, players can register for the Apparatus Community, where they can upload their own level designs, or download, rate, and comment on levels created by other players. Some user-created levels resemble sexually explicit body parts and sexual positions, and user comments occasionally contain strong language like "s--t" or sexual references.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension

Science

  • engineering
  • gravity
  • momentum

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • deduction
  • hypothesis-testing
  • part-whole relationships
  • analyzing evidence

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Players who enjoy tinkering with machines will find an enjoyable outlet for their creativity but most others will find the challenges a bit too difficult and the graphics kinda clunky.

Learning Approach

The puzzles go beyond the relatively simple physics concepts of other games and challenge players to create real, moving machines, yet no terminology is used and help is fragmented.

Support

Tutorials, help, and hints aren't well integrated. While players can upload their creations to the community, occasional iffy content might be a turn off.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension

Science

  • engineering
  • gravity
  • momentum

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • deduction
  • hypothesis-testing
  • part-whole relationships
  • analyzing evidence

Older kids can learn about mechanical engineering using simple tools like levers, wheels, ramps, wedges, and, less simple, motors that gather a string. Kids release a marble to assess the impact of gravity and momentum and then build structures to guide the marble into the blue catch box. Puzzles are quite challenging but patched-up tutorials, help, and hints aren't well integrated. The sophisticated puzzles in Apparatus are fun brain challenges and give players an introduction to basic engineering principles.

This Learning Rating review was written by Leslie Crenna

User reviews

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What's it about?

Kids are presented with a collection of objects: the ever present marble and catch box, immovable objects (metal), and movable objects (wood). Kids tap then twist movable objects to rotate, and then drag and drop them into place. Kids can connect or disconnect objects using a hammer or wrench, but connections bear little resemblance to real-world carpentry or machining. Kids can create their own puzzles and share with a community in the Sandbox mode.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The puzzles in APPARATUS go beyond the relatively simple physics concepts of games like Angry Birds and Cover Orange. Instead, each level challenges players to connect planks, wheels, ropes, and even batteries and cables to create real, moving machines that can transport a marble from one part of the screen to another. Players can also create levels in Sandbox mode, and upload their creations to the app's community for other players to play and rate.

Players who do not want to risk being exposed to iffy content should steer clear of the community, which means they will not be able to upload their own levels. Casual players might find Apparatus's gameplay a little too complex, but players who enjoy tinkering with machines will find an enjoyable outlet for their creativity.

Families can talk about...

  • Teach your kids some basic carpentry, in particular, ways to connect materials.

  • Encourage your older kids to build a ramp system for a marble, a younger sibling's toy car, or for skating.

App details

Device:Android
Price:$.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:January 17, 2014
Category:Education
Size:11.00 MB
Publisher:Bithack
Version:1.2.1
Minimum software requirements:Android 1.6 and up

This review of Apparatus was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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; OK 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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