App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Bluster! App Poster Image
Competitive play gives word-matching game a fun boost.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to recognize rhyming words, homophones, synonyms, adjectives, prefixes, and suffixes. They'll strengthen vocabulary skills through exposure to 800 words, and they can learn to work cooperatively in team mode or competitively in versus mode. Bluster! makes sometimes-dry vocabulary practice fun by adding the game element.

Ease of Play

Clear, concise instructions show kids how to play. It can be difficult to discern where to swipe to scroll through the word lists (hint: below, not on, the list), which can slow kids down.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

McGraw-Hill Education's logo appears at the bottom of the screens throughout play. You can buy additional word packs for $0.99 each via in-app purchase.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bluster! is a word game developed by the educational publisher McGraw-Hill. Kids can play in single mode, cooperatively with a partner, or competitively with a partner. The Honors section tracks high scores for each arrangement of play. Kids need to read independently to play because no words are read aloud. No personal information is requested, but kids can enter their initials for the Honors board. Additional word packs can be purchased for $0.99 each.

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What's it about?

Choose from three levels of play. A list of words appears across the screen, and kids follow the instructions to drag three words into place. For example, "Match 3 words that rhyme," or "Match 3 words that have the same prefix or suffix." Play is timed and can be paused by tapping the sun. Kids can play solo against the clock, cooperatively with a partner, or against another player. Kids race against time and weather to match as many words as possible. Fun play with more than 800 words.

Is it any good?

BLUSTER! includes many levels of play to match kids' current skills. Level 2 includes rhyming words, prefixes, and synonyms. Level 3 includes prefixes and suffixes, word roots, and homophones. Level 4 includes rhyming words, prefixes and suffixes, and adjectives. Oddly, there's no Level 1. In solo mode, kids only make word matches. In the competitive mode, bad weather comes through to slow players down, which is frustrating for the affected player but exhilarating for the other player. Getting the words to drag properly or scrolling through the list gets a bit tricky when kids are going for speed. In the team and competitive modes, the iPad screen works beautifully as a table-top game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Since Bluster! has both cooperative and competitive options, play with your kid in both modes.

  • Play word games verbally. Take turns naming different rhyming words, words that begin with the same prefix, or words that are homophones.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love vocabulary

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