Levers

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Levers App Poster Image
Addicting game anchors wonderful, wordless balancing act.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn some basic physics principles (such as how using the hangers changes how the two sides balance and how hangers of different sizes affect the balance) and build persistence and problem-solving skills more broadly. Because there are no time limits or penalties, kids can use trial and error and work through each challenge at their own pace. Though Levers doesn't claim to be educational, it has the potential to help kids use patience as they work out basic balancing challenges.

Ease of Play

Once you figure out the objective, it's easy to hang the objects and rearrange them on the hangers. The challenge is getting them to balance.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Levers is a sandbox-style puzzle game from the developers of Metamorphabet and Windosill. Kids work to arrange a series of objects on hangers so they'll balance each other and stay out of the water. It's a simple concept with no instructions: Items drop from the sky one by one, and kids work to pick which objects should hang where. Though challenging, there are no penalties or time limits.

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What's it about?

In LEVERS, players work to balance a series of objects by hanging them from two hooks that hang from a circular object at the top of the screen. You start out with two objects, which you must hang correctly and balance to get new objects. A timer ticks down on the central circle. If the objects stay balanced for one full revolution of the clock, another object drops from the sky. A few other obstacles -- such as unruly birds that land and take off at will -- add an extra layer of complication. Eventually, once all the objects are on-screen and balanced, the circle's display will change and all the objects will spin wildly to let you know you've won the game.

Is it any good?

Levers is remarkably addicting. It's not easy to play, but it's not easy to give up either; there's clearly a way to balance all the hangers and objects to get to the right answer, and it's fun to keep trying until you get it right. Since there are no instructions (users can toggle the app's title on and off, but that's the only written content), prereaders and older kids will be equally well equipped to start experimenting with the best way to arrange the objects and reach the solution. Once you've won the game, it's also worth giving it another try; each additional object requires another round of balancing, and each intermediate step offers its own challenge that stays fresh and compelling. A few extensions and more variations would extend the shelf life even more. Though it's simple in concept and execution, it's a fun, addicting game to challenge kids and adults alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the basic physics principles involved in the game, such as density. Some objects have similar sizes but different weights. Why might that be?

  • Talk to your kids about problem solving. This game doesn't have any instructions; what hints are there to tell you what to do? How do you approach a game that doesn't have instructions? What do you do to figure out how to play?

App details

For kids who love exploration and physics games

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