Sand Castle Maker

App review by
Jonathan H. Liu, Common Sense Media
Sand Castle Maker App Poster Image
Virtual castle-building fun is marred by excessive ads.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

Sand Castle Maker has several buttons for different categories of items you can add to the scene: backgrounds, sand castle parts, decorations like twigs and shells, and background details like birds or boats. Pieces can be moved around after they're placed, but sometimes it can be hard to grab the particular piece you want if there are many things stacked. Also, the buttons on the home screen and menu are unlabeled so it takes some trial and error to figure out what they do.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The app has frequent ads promoting other apps from the developer: there is a pop-up when you first start the app, a link for "more games" on the home screen, and a scrolling ad at the bottom of the screen. Also, when you use the email function to send a picture of a sand castle, by default the email includes ads for other apps.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sand Castle Maker is a creativity app that allows you to create beach scenes of sand castles using a simple drag-and-drop interface. The controls can be finicky but are otherwise easy to learn. This paid-for app does include a lot of ads for other apps by the developer, including in the email-a-picture option, as well as an occasional banner ad on the bottom of the screen.

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Is it any good?

SAND CASTLE MAKER lets you "build" sand castles by dragging and dropping various pieces onto a beach scene. You can pick a background and add other items like whales leaping from the ocean in the background or beach toys in the foreground. There is a wide variety of decorations, too, like leaves and twigs or shells. Once you've created a picture, you can save it to your Photo Gallery, post it on Facebook, or email it to a friend.

However, this paid-for app also has a lot of ads for other apps by the developers, including an occasional scrolling ad at the bottom of the screen.  Scrolling ads are usually found in free apps, not ones we have paid for. The interface can also be a little finicky, since anything already placed can be moved again -- if you stack a lot of items it can be hard to move just the one you want.

App details

For kids who love being creative

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