PIXEL'D

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
PIXEL'D App Poster Image
Animate like a pro, but young kids will need adult guidance.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to combine drawing and animation to tell a story through digital creation. By using the many tools on PIXEL'D, kids can use their imaginations to make new creations they can share with friends. Kids can work with their friends via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on a drawing, learning online collaboration and practicing cooperating with others in an online work environment. For younger users, a more limited version or more in-app instructions could improve this app. PIXEL'D is an engaging way for kids to learn more about animation and digital art creation.

Ease of Play

With so many options, this app can be confusing for first-time visitors, but once kids get the hang of it, the creative possibilities are endless. There's an entire tutorial set at disney.com/pixeld, so kids who don't pick up on how to play here intuitively or experimentally can visit that website for detailed instructions.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

PIXEL'D features Disney characters, such as Disney Princesses and characters from Cars and Bolt. A "shop" tab on the main intro page links kids to in-app purchases to unlock expansion packs with even more characters. Purchases range from $1 to $3. A Disney button takes kids to a page with additional Disney apps to buy, videos, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids can create unique pixel art and animation on PIXEL'D, which also features lots of ways to share art online. This app is made for kids who are just starting to play with digital art, as well as kids who are more advanced; however, younger kids may get frustrated with the multiple options but limited direction on the app (there are tutorials on a companion website). Kids who get the concept quickly, though, are likely to have lots of fun creating some unique, amazing art. Parents of younger users may want to limit online sharing options and set restrictions on in-app purchases (for "expansion packs" that allow kids to use more Disney characters' images in their creations).

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What's it about?

A blank canvas and a menu full of options become the starting points for kids to create animated pixel art. Using Disney characters and their own imagination, kids choose from many options to create animated drawings, stories, or scenes up to 20 frames long, which can then be shared online and in the app's gallery. Kids can create with a friend who is also using PIXEL'D in real time via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Is it any good?

For kids who want to try creating animation, PIXEL'D could be the perfect place to start, although the difficulty level and social sharing will require parents to be more involved with younger kids' play. Many of the Disney characters featured on the app are geared toward younger kids, but parents will need to help those kids find tutorials and set appropriate settings for social sharing and in-app purchases.

Older kids and kids who are advanced in digital art will find lots of creative options and social sharing capabilities here. It may take a while to get used to the look of large pixel-style drawing on PIXEL'D, but kids can alter the size of the canvas to make it look less "pixelated." The little "pop" noise that kids hear as they draw across the screen adds to this app's fun vibe, where the art creation can be as silly or serious as kids want it to be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If your kids are too young to post their creations on social networking sites but still want to share them with others, help them email them to a grandparent, friend, or teacher.

  • Help kids find the tutorials and walk through all of the features with them to help maximize their fun and creative options.

App details

For kids who love to create

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