SUPER WHY Alpha Boost!

Common Sense Media says

Party-themed word app too simple and too fast to be fun.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The PBS KIDS logo appears on the main screen; the SUPER WHY! television cartoon characters are the stars of this app.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

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.  

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • reading
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • prediction

Emotional Development

  • handling stress

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Not as engaging as most apps starring PBS Kids characters. The themes and characters are fun, but there's just one basic game and it requires little thinking.

Learning Approach

While well-intentioned in helping kids learn basic pre-reading and world-building skills through a simple tilt-and-catch game, gameplay moves so fast that many young kids won't be able to keep up with word formation. 

Support

Instructions are super easy and the on-screen word building is automatic. Settings control can increase flying difficulty. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • reading
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • prediction

Emotional Development

  • handling stress

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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What's it about?

Kids tilt the device 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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Play the game with your child and discuss other party-themed words that you can think of together that aren't on the game.

  • Check out some of the usually higher-quality learning fare associated with the SUPER WHY brand, like the TV show or SUPER WHY! app.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$1.99
Release date:November 11, 2011
Category:Educational Games
Size:35.50 MB
Publisher:PBS KIDS
Version:1.0.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.0 or later

This review of SUPER WHY Alpha Boost! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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, okay 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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