Tayasui Blocks

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Tayasui Blocks App Poster Image
Simple tools make 3-D block creations a snap to construct.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to express themselves through imaginative creations. If they make a piece that resembles something real and recognizable, kids will work on planning, artistic perspective, visualizing a finished product, holding a representation of different perspectives of a 3-D object, and more. However, they can also just exercise their imaginations or do experiments with the tools of destruction (will the ray gun or lightning make the blocks fly farther?). If kids participate in the community features, they'll also experience sharing their own work with strangers and editing others' work. With Tayasui Blocks, kids use a fixed set of building tools to stretch their visual, artistic, and creative skills.

Ease of Play

A basic tutorial introduces the main features, but the help features aren't great. Kids can easily learn the rest through experimentation.

Violence & Scariness

There are a handful of "destroy" options that require tapping on icons of weapons such as a revolver, a grenade, a bomb, or dynamite, but they are only used to blow up blocks.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The "info" icon takes users to ads for additional apps from the same developer; there's a "parent gate" of named numbers to type in, but the target users can read, and the code never changes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tayasui Blocks is a Minecraft-esque platform for building 3-D creations using colored blocks. Nothing happens with the creations once they're made; that is, there's no world to explore, battle to fight, and so on. Kids can share creations through the device's sharing options, for which they'll need to pass through a parent gate that asks users to input the numerals that match four written number names. Kids can also post to a community board, for which they also need to provide their name and email, though this information is not posted publicly. There doesn't seem to be a screening process for posting to community boards, but iffy content would only appear in block format, which limits the possibilities a bit. There's a whole section for destroying creations that features various weapons, but the only thing affected by the guns and explosions are the blocks themselves. See the developer's privacy policy for details on the kinds of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

With TAYASUI BLOCKS, kids put cubed blocks in various combinations to create 3-D pictures. Start with a blank canvas, or take inspiration from and build upon any of the featured creations included in the app or posted to the community board. Turn, zoom in and out, change the block and floor color, add some stickers, and adjust the perspective to approach the drawing from different angles. The erase section features a typical undo button and a handful of destructive devices -- a revolver, an exploding banana, a grenade -- to blow things up. Save your creations, share them through your device's sharing options, or post to the community board.

Is it any good?

Kids have lots of room to create and express themselves with this easy-to-use platform. It's a nice touch that other users' creations are not just to look at: Kids can also use them as starting points from which to adjust, edit, and customize according to their own liking. The tools themselves are generally user-friendly and easy to manipulate. It would be nice to see even just a few additional features, such as the ability to move a block that's already been placed, to draw on blocks, or to use a variety of block types. The destroy function may seem pointless to some but will be immensely satisfying for those kids who love to see things get blown up -- even if some of the tools are quite realistically violent-looking. The sharing options are nice for creating community and allowing kids to show off what they've done. However, kids who are old enough to be using the app are also old enough to easily pass through the parent gate, so parents may want to talk about whether or not kids can share creations and view other apps. Overall, it's a simple, easily accessible platform for creating some pretty cool things.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kids create. Have them tell stories about their drawings, create imaginary worlds, create together. For instance, make it a family project for which each person contributes a character or setting for a common story.

  • Build structures offscreen with real 3-D blocks and objects.

  • It can be hard to put down a game when you're completely engrossed in it. Talk to your kids about reasonable time limits, and make sure they establish a good balance of on- and offscreen activities.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Hobbies: building
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: part-whole relationships
    Creativity: imagination, innovation, making new creations, producing new content
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Price: $1.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: February 10, 2016
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 70.90 MB
  • Publisher: Tayasui.com
  • Version: 2.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later

For kids who love Minecraft and creativity

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