Gigglebug's Face Race

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Gigglebug's Face Race App Poster Image
Scoring and finicky face recognition steal some fun.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids might be able to learn some minimal mirroring skills as they copy silly faces, but there's no content that helps them identify emotions or associate certain faces with particular emotions. In fact, the faces are primarily silly and not clearly associated with specific emotions at all. Gigglebug's Face Race is good for some chuckles, but it's not really built for learning.

Ease of Play

Directions and controls are simple, but sometimes the facial recognition is off in terms of lining up the camera when opening the app. Young kids may struggle with some of the facial expressions (i.e., raising one eyebrow, puffing out one cheek), and scoring isn't always accurate (or fun).

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A link to the publisher's other apps appears on the menu screen with other icons but is not clearly marked.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gigglebug's Face Race is a simple app that invites kids to mimic silly faces and just have fun. The bug faces can sometimes be tricky to mimic (raising one eyebrow isn't something everyone can do), and lining up correctly with the camera may require help from an adult. Picture collages can be downloaded to the device, uploaded to social media, or embedded in an email. The parental controls involve swiping up, down, left, or right with two or three fingers based on written instructions. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared. 

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What's it about?

The Gigglebugs like making silly faces, so GIGGLEBUG'S FACE RACE is a chance for kids and adults to join in on the fun. Kids choose one of four Gigglebugs and line their faces up in the camera with the designated space on the screen. The Gigglebug will start making faces, and kids will have a few seconds to mimic and hold the silly face. Each game has five rounds and the app will take a picture of the player making each of the faces. At the end, the app compares the Gigglebug faces with the pictures, scores each of them for accuracy, and totals a final score. Kids can also view a digital "postcard" with all their silly faces and change some of the design aspects before saving it to the device or uploading via social media. 

Is it any good?

This is a cute idea without a lot of substance, with some technical glitches, and with an unfortunate scoring system. What kid doesn't like making silly faces? The Gigglebugs are really creative with their silly faces, but some of the faces the Gigglebugs want kids to mimic are tricky to make, especially in the allotted time and while juggling a device and trying to keep your face on the screen. Seeing the results is typically quite funny, but the scores put a damper on the fun, especially for kids past the toddler age who understand they haven't quite gotten it "right." A Gigglebug even looks sad if the score isn't very high. Also, the facial-recognition algorithm can be finicky: Sometimes it's amazingly accurate, while other times it's frustratingly off base. During the review period, the app also quit unexpectedly several times. It's free, so it might be worth trying out with your kids, but it may be just as fun to make silly faces together without a device getting in the way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bringing the fun off the device into the real world. If screen time is a concern, try playing the game by pairing up two family members to take turns mimicking each other's silly faces. Kids can also draw pictures with silly faces. It may help to practice making or drawing faces that show specific emotions, such as happiness, sadness, surprise, and fear.

  • Discuss the appeal  of this type of app. What makes this app fun? What do you like most about it? What do you like least? Would you choose this app over others? Why, or why not?

App details

For kids who love funny apps and empathy games

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