Parents' Guide to

Toca Mystery House

By Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Eerie exploration and playful puzzles appeal to older kids.

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Familiar free play is aged up in this spooky exploration app. Toca Mystery House continues the free play and fun characters for which Toca Boca is known, but it has a darker vibe than other Toca apps. It may require a few play sessions before many kids will feel like they know their way around this dark, cavernous house. (Hint: There's a map on the wall as you enter the house.) Then they can start digging into the fun "what does this do?" exploratory features that are more science, less spook. Some of the rooms offer a really rich -- and seemingly endless -- set of "puzzles," though there's not always a set logic to them. It's less about figuring things out than poking around and trying things. The alien area (up the disappearing stairs) will be particularly rewarding -- or frustrating -- for kids as they try things, so linear-minded kids looking for concrete solutions may feel stymied. If you encourage kids to slow down, spend time on those features, and not expect clear rules, they're likely to find a much more rewarding play experience.

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