By Amanda Bindel,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Delightful discoveries abound with world-building open play.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about community-building issues, about taking risks by trying new things, and about how things work together -- all while they're playing. Open, creative play also can boost verbal and critical-thinking skills. Younger kids can learn not to be afraid to try new things, to test hypotheses to see what might happen if they combine two building tools. Older kids can strategically plan what they want to build and think critically to determine which building tools might best be combined to create it. Hoopa City encourages creativity and creative thinking in a fun environment.
Ease of Play
Basic play is really easy and only requires tapping to place or change the building. There's no restart button to erase all and start over, but play is automatically saved so kids can pick up where they left off anytime.
Products & Purchases
A logo ad for other apps shows on the start screen by default but can be disabled in the parents' section.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hoopa City is a preschool-friendly world-building game that also will appeal to older kids. There's no reading involved. In fact, there are no instructions at all -- kids explore and figure out on their own what they can create and how. The iOS and Kindle Fire versions include the full app; the Google Play Android version is a free download that offers three building tools for free and the rest as in-app purchases. Work is saved automatically so kids can pick up where they left off. Parents might also consider that kids will need (and want) time to explore and discover while playing Hoopa and that they'll need adequate time to get into the flow of creative play.
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Based on 1 parent review
Best Game on the iPad
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What’s It About?
Play starts slowly, with green grass, a blue sky, and a short strip of road. As kids explore, tap, and build a few roads, other building tools are added, two at a time, until kids can build with love, money, energy, roads, bricks, water, and nature as well as remove what they build with a shovel. Each tool, used alone, builds something distinct -- bricks build houses; love builds hospitals -- but the tools can be combined to build a variety of buildings. Kids explore and discover just what can be built and create a whole world.
Is It Any Good?
For kids, simply creating their own little worlds is certainly entertaining and valuable play, but HOOPA CITY becomes mind-blowingly fun as kids figure out all the building possibilities. It's even better -- and more exciting for them -- that they get to discover it on their own. Bricks and love: That builds a school. A leaves and energy combination builds a sports stadium and track. Put four playgrounds together to create an amusement park. The options are nearly endless. This isn't really a game that kids can fully enjoy and experience in 10-minute screen-time bursts, though. To really get excited and start discovering, they'll need bigger chunks of time for creative play with their devices. Fortunately, the worlds save automatically, so if kids can only play in short spurts, they can pick back up where they left off.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the different things they think towns and communities need. What is needed to build them?
Kids who are used to playing with rules may need some prompting to take risks while playing Hoopa. Parents can encourage them by asking, "What would happen if you tapped that building again? What about if you tapped the heart and then that house?"
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Arts: playing
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy, thinking critically, Creativity: imagination, Self-Direction: initiative, work to achieve goals, Emotional Development: developing resilience
- Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid (The iOS and Kindle versions are paid. The Google Play Android version is free to try and requires an in-app purchase to unlock the rest of the content.)
- Release date: June 26, 2014
- Category: Education
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Trains
- Publisher: TribePlay
- Version: 1.0.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
- Last updated: September 6, 2019
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