Parents' Guide to

Toca Robot Lab

By Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 3+

Build robots from recyclables and fly them around for fun.

Toca Robot Lab Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 3+

Based on 1 parent review

age 3+

Nice concept but under-delivers

We are big fans of the Toca app family but this one is disappointing, especially for a paid app. Build a robot with recycled parts (pair of legs, body, head, and arms) and fly it around to pick up stars. Sometimes you need to move blocks out of the way. The app and parents’ guide suggests that robots built with different components have different abilities (which would be a great foundation for a puzzle game) but that turns out not to be the case — choosing different components has no effect on how the robot moves or interacts with the environment. There are also visual cues to suggest that there are buttons to be activated or other puzzles to solve but that’s all just cosmetic. So while this is a cute app for very young kids I suspect older ones will get bored quickly.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Toca Robot Lab gives kids a structure for experimenting with different ways to express themselves. Unlike a real-world play scene in which a kid constructs a toy, the app lets kids have access to things they may not have in real life. The downside is that interaction is limited to what's been programmed rather than what a child can imagine. Toca Robot Lab succeeds in that there are no rules, but there are limited choices for each body part and only one way to interact with completed robots, all of which have the exact same capabilities of movement and function regardless of how they're built. It would be nice to be able to move arms and legs or see robots roll if they have wheels, paint walls if they have paintbrush arms, and so on. This almost makes the robot construction seem futile.

The game might be more rewarding if kids could even take a picture of their robots. Within the test lab, however, kids may have to push items out of the way as they search for stars, and each obstacle moves a little differently, which adds a layer of interest and challenge, if only for toddlers. Relatively speaking, this is a shallower offering from Toca Boca, but kids will definitely love it.

App Details

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