Puzzlejuice App Poster Image

Puzzlejuice

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Tetris-like word app wins with clever concept, snarky humor.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game has an excellent tutorial and adapts to the player's improvement and skill level by suggesting the player change modes, increasing the level, and providing new objectives in sets of three. There are different game modes and difficulty levels for a range of ability levels. Some strategic aspects of the game, such as how to best utilize special blocks, must be learned through trial and error. Similarly, it takes a while to learn how to select letters without accidentally moving a falling block. The game generally moves smoothly between menus with engaging music, graphics, and sound effects, though we noticed very occasional bugs (such as a tile freezing and becoming unresponsive). 

Violence

The tone of the app is snarkily aggressive -- the intro to the game says it will "punch your brain in the face," and the option to exit a game is called "rage quit." Solved words and special bomb tiles (that look like stars) make surrounding tiles disappear.

Sex

The game accepts (and provides definitions for) commonly accepted words, including ones related to sex and body parts.

Language

Curse words that have dictionary definitions, such as "ass," can be submitted.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Words related to drinking, drugs, and smoking can be submitted, and their definitions can be viewed.

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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Hobbies

  • board games

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The Tetris-like logic component is addictive to play, and kids may enjoy the change of pace and added challenge of creating words.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Hobbies

  • board games

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Kids can learn to think quickly and effectively. Puzzlejuice gets kids' brains working as they strategize placement of rows and blocks, and it helps them improve vocabulary and spelling as kids create words from the letters in the blocks. The core mode is challenging in and of itself, but the app presents other challenges to keep kids thinking. Puzzlejuice offers kids a fun challenge that incorporates logic and language.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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Is it any good?

QUALITY

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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$1.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:August 30, 2012
Category:Word Games
Size:36.40 MB
Publisher:Colaboratory
Version:1.5
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.1.3 or later

This review of Puzzlejuice was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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