A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cozmo's Day Off - Children's Interactive Storybook is about a cute alien who runs into a series of obstacles on his way to work, only to discover upon getting there that he had the day off. There are scores of interactive elements, some of which are easily marked, but others that remain hidden for children to discover as they explore each illustrated page. There is one illustration that shows the man-in-the-moon with a pipe in his mouth, but when tapped, that pipe releases stars, not smoke. There are also a number of mini-games, including a memory-game, a "whack-a-mole" style alien catching scene, a jigsaw puzzle, and an old-school spaceship flying game.
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Is it any good?
COZMO'S DAY OFF has an astonishing number of interactive elements (over a hundred, according to the app's iTunes info). Each page offers a playground of tapping, with so much to find and do within each gorgeous semi-retro illustration. In addition to triggering animations and audio cues, you can move objects around in the illustrations. You'll also find bona fide mini-games to play. Not all of the interactive bits are well marked, but that only serves to encourage exploration. And many of the items in the pictures will produce a different response when tapped for a second or third time. One super-fun element is the voice-changer that allows kids to manipulate the sound of the narration -- the voice-over can sound like a low-and-slow ogre, a regular reader, or a speedy, high-pitched alien. The story here is cute, but slight. Most kids won't care about the thin plot, though -- they'll be too busy searching out all the amazing things they can make happen on every page. As a very neat bonus, the app even has a cool music soundtrack.
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