What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Puzzlejuice is a challenging combination of word finds and Tetris with a concept similar to DigitZ, all with a mildly aggressive, "bro"-ish tone. Players arrange falling colored block shapes to complete rows, and group blocks of the same colors. Completed rows and color groups can be converted into letters. Players then spell words among adjacent letters to make those tiles disappear and let the block above fall. In core mode, players continue until their blocks reach the top of the screen. In zen mode, the blocks fall only when players guide them down, but the game lasts only 90 seconds. After a round, players can tap on words to see their dictionary definitions, which enhances the app's educational value but also may expose younger kids to mature content. Players can share high scores via Twitter or the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- board games
Thinking & Reasoning
- solving puzzles
Engagement, Approach, Support
Though it incorporates some logic and wordplay, the skills are unlikely to transfer into real-world or academic usage. The app could be a gem to use in foreign-language classes since it can be played using Spanish, French, or Italian words.
The tutorial is very helpful, and the app tracks students' scores and connects to Game Center. The objectives are well-explained. Accessibility-wise, a color-blind option is available.
Is it any good?
Puzzlejuice is addictively fun! In addition to the neat game concept, the menus and graphics are smooth (particularly on the larger iPad screen), and the music and sound effects are great. The tone of the app is a tad bro-ish (when players type in their username for their first high score, the presented name is "broseph"), but not in an offensive way. The excellent tutorial, different game modes, and varying difficulty levels and objectives give this app a lot of replayability value for older kids and adults alike. This is a great app to play together (with one player finding words, the other directing falling blocks), or challenge each other on Game Center -- and be sure to look up definitions of new words after each round!
Families can talk about...
Play a board game like Jenga or Boggle together to enjoy the strategy of building towers or finding words.
Play cooperatively, with one moving blocks and one searching for words.