This match-3 puzzle app might be fun for little kids, but it's pretty shallow and doesn't improve on the genre. Barbie Sparkle Blast doesn't offer dozens of games or virtual world experiences -- its premise is fairly simple: Play matching games, trade your winnings for coins, and use the coins on clothes, shoes, or hairstyles for your virtual persona.
Although there are different levels that present a more challenging version of the game, the basic structure doesn't differ much; older kids may lose interest fairly quickly as a result. For younger kids, though, there are plenty of levels and enough instruction to make the app a fun event. If they get confused, the app helps them identify a potential match by gently wiggling and illuminating a gem -- a nice touch to ensure they don't get stumped, become frustrated, and walk away. They'll hopefully also learn a bit about logic by playing; the only drawback is that sometimes when you make a match, as the gems on the board shift, other matches occur -- sometimes so quickly you can barely tell what's happening. Considering, though, that will probably help keep kids from getting bored, that's not necessarily a bad thing. To offer additional instruction, the app could make more use of Barbie, who giggles and gets excited when you succeed. If she provided some guidance as the game progresses, Barbie Sparkle Blast might be able to squeeze in a little bit more of an emphasis on decision making and other skills, instead of simply being window dressing.