Crafty Cut - Touch Press Games

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Crafty Cut - Touch Press Games App Poster Image
Gorgeous shapes game offers intellectual play at its best.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Targets one very specific geometry skill: 2D cross sections of 3D figures, but it teaches this very, very well. Spatial-reasoning core of geometry is brought to life by students' own hands. Tiered feedback supports self-reflection and persistence. 

Ease of Play

Controls are intuitive and kids will get going slicing and combining figures very quickly. Menus make sense and are easy to access. Earning a full three-star rating on some levels requires almost inhuman precision, which might cause some frustration for younger players.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

When players try to access certain games or levels, they're met with a flashy advertisement not only to unlock Crafty Cut but to subscribe to Touch Press' other games (which can run a steep $49.99). There's also a persistent "get more levels" bug in the corner. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crafty Cut - Touch Press Games is a game originally designed as part of an exclusive classroom-only suite of learning apps, so it was created explicitly with learning in mind. It's as engaging as other top-tier puzzle games but promotes spatial reasoning and geometric competency better than most apps out there. The only potentially objectionable content is the heavy-handed in-app purchase advertising. Read the app's privacy policy for info on the kinds of user data collected and shared.

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What's it about?

In CRAFTY CUT - TOUCH PRESS GAMES, 3D figures float in space. Players must drag across the figures to slice them, forming cross sections that match given 2D shapes. It's a very simple concept, but things get challenging quickly as the vocabulary becomes more sophisticated, shapes become more complex, and tricky multi-cut levels require clever problem-solving. For each cut, players earn up to three stars by satisfying the geometric properties of the target shape. These stars unlock harder levels and new materials for an included free-play mode where players can slice a cube at will. All the figures go into a gallery, which displays mathematical properties, name derivations, and historical details about each. A separate endless-runner shape-rotation game and a shape-reassembly game reinforce the math. 

Is it any good?

This geometry tool has addictive gameplay, great graphics, challenging levels, and genuinely meaningful mathematics learning; it's all seamlessly baked in to Crafty Cut - Touch Press Games. Kids will have a great time as they discover geometric relationships through manipulation, exploration, and trial and error. Definitions and diagrams are available to help, and while they're great to geek out over, they're not mandatory, so the game is good for casual players as well as serious geometry fans. Giving feedback via a three-star success system communicates more than just right and wrong, which both supports learning and gives a serious adrenaline rush of success. In-game tutorials, math facts, and unlimited retries make for great support, so kids can enjoy the challenge without frustration. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about shapes, definitions, and the relationships between 2D and 3D objects in Craft Cut - Touch Press Games. This is a very different way of thinking about math than a lot of kids are exposed to in testing-heavy classrooms, and it can wake up real curiosity about much bigger mathematical concepts. 

  • Talk about advertising in apps and how developers might offer something for free but still need to make money. What ads are in this game? Are they distracting?

  • Discuss the values of persistence and precision. Getting top scores in the game requires a very steady hand and often multiple tries. Making clever use of the in-game aides such as X-Ray View can help out on tricky puzzles, just like finding the right tool can make a construction project go smoothly. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: geometry, shapes
    Arts: sculpture
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: part-whole relationships, solving puzzles, thinking critically
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to Try (with $3.99 in-app purchase for the complete game)
  • Release date: January 18, 2017
  • Category: Educational Games
  • Size: 349.00 MB
  • Publisher: Touch Press
  • Version: 1.0.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0

For kids who love math and geometry

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