App review by
Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Media
Pictureka! App Poster Image

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Fast-paced searching game well-adapted from the board game.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to look for details, an important reading strategy, as they scan unnecessary information -- pictures, in this case -- to find the information they need. Kids will need to be able to read (or have read to them) the missions they are assigned, such as, "Get ready to find the following: 3 clothes and accessories," but even nonreaders and early readers alike will enjoy the challenge. Pictureka! can help kids build observation skills and practice quick visual discrimination.  

Ease of Play

It was not obvious during the first play session, but, when you're looking for items, you can drag the board around, searching a much larger area than first appears on the screen. Otherwise, the game is very intuitive and gives you instructions as you play.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

On the main screen, scrolling advertising references other games from EA that are coming out soon. There's also a prominent button that says "More EA Games" and that takes you to a screen inside the game with the ability to see all EA's their available games. Each one of them has a large and obvious "BUY NOW" button. Tapping any of them takes you to the iTunes store. Once you're inside the game, there's no advertising.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pictureka! is a fast-paced, search-and-find game based very closely on the board game with the same name. It allows for single-person play but also can accommodate up to four people in one of the game modes. Kids can easily play it by themselves or together, and families can enjoy playing it as a group. It's a competitive game, with players either competing against each other, themselves, or the clock. The game uses background sounds and sound effects. Although this universal app version runs on the iPad, there's a separate high-definition version called Pictureka HD that costs $4.99.

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What's it about?

Kids, playing solo or against an AI or a real-life player on the same device, scan through all the images on the screen to find the items in question. The idea is to match the images or missions (categories) on the cards to things on a playboard jumbled with drawings. Examples of images you will need to find are a heart, a star, or a snowman. Missions include finding a number of tools, several neckties, or people with hair. This enables kids to practice sorting what they see into categories and matching pictures on cards to the same pictures in the game.

Is it any good?

PICTUREKA! is a quality board-game app that is closely based on the existing board game and other Pictureka! products. It's a fast-paced game, so kids will need to move quickly and tune out distractions. Choose from the solo Adventure game or the Versus mode, which is almost exactly like the board game. In Versus mode, players can play on their own or with up to three other friends or computer-controlled characters (AI). When playing with other people, you pass the device around and take turns, rather than all playing at once.

Despite the advertising for other EA games on the main page, the gameplay is engrossing and fun for people of many different ages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how board game apps compare to the real thing. If you've played the Pictureka! board game, which do you prefer? What are some advantages and disadvantages of each version of the game? 

  • Make a portable scavenger-hunt game using an empty plastic bottle. Clean and dry the bottle, fill it halfway with rice and small items (tiny letters, shapes, gems, rocks, colored poms), and add more rice so the bottle is about three-quarters full. Then secure the lid with super glue and shake the bottle to find objects you then call out.

App details

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