A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn some basic pre-reading, word-building skills with SUPER WHY Alpha Boost!, an app focused on a limited set of party-themed vocabulary words. Kids may also get some practice in managing stress, as this is a very fast-paced tilting game for the younger audience that SUPER WHY typically attracts. In fact, the game eventually moves so fast that many young kids won't be able to follow the word formation. SUPER WHY Alpha Boost! is, disappointingly, more eye candy than solid learning.
Ease of Play
Once kids get the hang of tilting the iDevice to "catch" the floating objects and letters, it's very easy to use.
Products & Purchases
The PBS KIDS logo appears on the main screen; the SUPER WHY! television cartoon characters are the stars of this app.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that to SUPER WHY Alpha Boost!, is a party-themed word game app. Kids tilt the iPhone or iPad left to right to catch floating objects and letters to build very simple, party-themed vocabulary words. Kids choose from one of four main SUPER WHY characters -- Super Why, Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, and Wonder Red -- as well as a party theme -- beach, birthday, Halloween, or love. Then they try to catch the letters and falling objects to fly faster and boost their character higher in the sky. After the letters build the words (such as "mask" and "box"), the Super Party Password is created and the game is complete.
Is It Any Good?
Party theme notwithstanding, SUPER WHY ALPHA BOOST! may not be a good time for many kids who expect more from educational game apps (especially from the typically high-quality PBS Kids brand) than this app offers. The themes and character may change, but there's just one basic game, and it requires no more thinking than tilting a mobile device back-and-forth. In addition, once the character on the screen hits certain falling objects, the screen movements speed up at such a fast rate that many young kids playing the game won't likely be able to follow the word formation at the bottom right corner of even just three- or four-letter words, thereby making any learning less likely (although the words are repeated at the end of the game). In the boost mode, the falling objects, balloons, and letters are propelled forward at too fast a rate for the very young pre-K and K audience that SUPER WHY tends to attract. Ironically, the rest of the game is sort of slow-paced. There seems to be no happy medium on this game, which causes over- or under-stimulation at even rates.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.