What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I SPY Riddle Race is a seek-and-find game for kids. The small size of some of the objects means this app may be best suited for the large screen of an iPad. Each game consists of three scenes and a bonus round. The entire game is timed and takes 10 minutes. You cannot save a game part-way through. Each of the first three rounds has roughly six items to locate, and you must find all the items in a scene before moving to the next round. The fourth round asks you to find as many items as possible before the remaining time runs out and sends you to find one item at a time from any of the three previous scenes. This requires some observation and memory and a whole lot of luck. Once time runs out, you can start a new game.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- following directions
Thinking & Reasoning
- collecting data
Engagement, Approach, Support
The pictures are detailed and full of goodies in the classic I Spy style, and kids who like puzzles will be entertained.
As kids scroll and zoom and search for tiny pictures in a hodgepodge collage, they can develop patience and attention to detail. Kids may pick up on a few new words, such as "hydrant" or "propeller." Some of the images may be unfamiliar to children, such as a rotary-dial telephone, and others are tricky and not what one might expect -- a jewelry fish or a hidden spring -- that will get kids thinking.
Lots more I Spy fun can be found on the Scholastic website, and there's a searchable FAQ that provides tech support for each device.
What's it about?
Kids first choose to "Play" or "Practice." The play version starts with a maze that a marble moves through, landing on different detailed pictures. They have 10 minutes to search three separate pics for a list of items (provided in riddle form), and then increase their score with a bonus round, finding as many items as possible before time runs out. In the practice version, kids search one picture for the items in the riddle without being timed. Kids can enter their name on a leaderboard when they get high scores.
Is it any good?
I SPY RIDDLE RACE is a timed and somewhat frustrating version of the I SPY series. The puzzles are difficult enough to complete with no available hints, but the timed aspect merely adds to the stress. To make matters worse, the bonus round sends you on a hunt through your previous puzzles (you guess which one) to locate items that are sometimes very difficult to see. In addition, the game doesn't always recognize when you have found a correct object. It's almost as if they simply shrunk the game from a larger screen without recognizing that a kernel of corn might be hard to find/touch on such small real estate. The app was played on an iPod Touch for this review; perhaps the larger screen of an iPad would improve the experience.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about perseverance -- what does it feel like to find that last item in a game of I Spy? How do you push past the frustration?
Play I Spy in real life with whatever happens to be around you; animals, colors, words -- there's always something fun to find in the world.