Etter Drei

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Etter Drei App Poster Image
Elegant. challenging puzzler with anonymous cooperation.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn logic, creative problem solving, and collaboration with this open-ended puzzler. Minimal instruction frees kids up to try out a solution, see if it works, and then try again if necessary. The challenge begins by simply stacking shapes to build a tower of a certain height and increases to combining shapes, such as triangles, to create a flat platform. And the challenge increases even more with circles and scientific concepts such as gravity and wind entering play. In the multiplayer levels, kids can learn about teamwork and working toward a common goal with a stranger. Etter Drei is a stunning and challenging logic puzzler that subtly conveys the message that we can solve problems when we work together.

Ease of Play

Play is quite challenging, but there are no time limits or ways to lose. Play continues until the puzzle is solved. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Etter Drei is a multi-round puzzler that has kids maneuvering blocks into place. They must complete a level before unlocking the next, and some levels can be played cooperatively by multiple, anonymous players, which might feel strange at first but ultimately creates a sense of teamwork. Restricted by given choices, communication between players consists of choices such as "Hello," "Yay," "Drop," "Sorry," and "Huh?" (translated into 17 languages), and players can't exchange personal information, even if they want to. Play gets progressively more challenging as kids advance through the rounds, and some levels can be frustrating. There's nothing objectionable at all; kids only need good fine motor skills (and patience) to play.

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What's it about?

ETTER DREI is a mesmerizing puzzler with 48 rounds, each more challenging than the one before. Kids drag different sizes and shapes of blocks into place to build towers. As they progress through the levels, they'll encounter ghost blocks, broken blocks, fragile blocks, and bouncy areas that make completing the towers more challenging. Some levels have multiple blocks and require multiple characters to move them, and the game randomly pairs players using an Internet connection to work together. Communication between players is limited to stock choices, so users can't share anything inappropriate or private, but they do have to figure out a way to work together harmoniously.

Is it any good?

Etter Drei is both utterly simple and really challenging. The design is beautiful, with peaceful sound effects and colorful characters that look more like pieces of art than the tools they are. The first several levels are easy enough to thrill kids, even young players, but the challenge ramps up very fast to what could be total frustration for some kids. There are no hints and no way to unlock levels without playing through them; though a reference guide explains what the different obstacles and objectives mean, there are no strategy or how-to instructions, so kids are left to figure out how to do what on their own. However, in many levels, another player will appear so you can work cooperatively to complete the level: Without words outside the very limited lexicon offered in the game, you are left to solve the problem with a stranger -- now your ally -- which makes for a general feeling of camaraderie. The experience of working toward a goal with an unknown person can be a unique opportunity for kids who might dislike working collaboratively to see the process in a more positive light, without pressure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the artsy "characters." Ask kids which is their favorite and what they like about it. 

  • Even though there's very minimal language, try playing in a different language to see the greetings used.

  • Talk about playing with others. How can you play cooperatively without using language? Is it easier or harder to play with someone else?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Math: shapes
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, solving puzzles, strategy, thinking critically
    Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: March 19, 2014
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Size: 31.50 MB
  • Publisher: Etter Studio GmbH
  • Version: 1.3.5
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles and collaboration

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