Apparatus

App review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Apparatus App Poster Image
Challenging physics game; optional community has iffy stuff.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

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.

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
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

What 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.

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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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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
  • Subjects: Hobbies: building
    Science: engineering, gravity, momentum
    Language & Reading: reading comprehension
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, deduction, hypothesis-testing, part-whole relationships
  • 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

For kids who love Android apps

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