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TokoToko - Cute AR Doodle

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
TokoToko - Cute AR Doodle App Poster Image
Cool but clumsy storytelling mixes AR and offscreen drawing.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to use augmented reality. They're also able to be artistic express themselves creatively through drawing tasks.

Ease of Play

Placing the AR play zone can be finicky. It can be hard to move around and maneuver items in the play zone.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that TokoToko - Cute AR Doodle uses augmented reality (AR) technology in a story-based drawing adventure. To use the app, kids need to allow access to the camera and camera roll. They'll also need paper, pencils or other drawing tools, and a flat, clean surface on which to place the "play zone." Kids will need to move the device around to follow the story as it unfolds through the screen layered on top of their chosen surface. Kids are invited to make drawings and take photos of them throughout the story. The story relies on lots of text so kids need to be comfortable readers to play. At the time of this review, the story includes one chapter, with a promise of more to be released soon. During play, a pop-up window appears asking kids to rate the app. Kids can choose a star to send a rating or tap "not now" to close the window. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Turn up the volume, gather some paper and drawing materials, clear a flat surface, and choose to be called "he" or "she" to get started with TOKOTOKO - CUTE AR DOODLE. Once in the TokoToko world, tap the exclamation mark bubble to read text and follow what the characters say. The TokoToko characters ask for help in various adventures. Helping them usually involves making drawings and taking a photo of them. By doing so, your drawings appear in the play zone and characters can interact with them. At other points in the story, kids tap and drag items in the play zone or move the device around to follow the action in the story.

Is it any good?

Kids own drawings play a starring role in this creative yet bulky augmented reality-enhanced story. It's great fun to make drawings and watch the characters interact with them as they get incorporated into the story. For the story's AR to work well, kids do need to find a clear, flat surface with room to move around. Although it's neat to see the characters seemingly appear in the room with you, it can feel awkward to maneuver the device, the play zone, and move drawings around to the right place. As kids progress and collect drawings, the play zone gets a bit crowded which adds to the bulk. As the app's title promises, the TokoToko characters are certainly cute, but the story they tell is very text-heavy, much of which feels unnecessary. Kids must tap on the text bubble a lot to advance the story and get to the good parts. And yet the narrative still feels somewhat incomplete. At the time of this review, only the first chapter was available. Maybe the story will come together better with future releases of additional chapters. TokoToko - Cute AR Doodle is based on a great idea for engaging kids by combining AR, storytelling, and kids' own drawings -- and does so relatively well -- but needs a bit of fine-tuning to smooth out some of the rough edges.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of augmented reality in TokoToko - Cute AR Doodle. Does AR make play more exciting? Why or why not?

  • Art is very important to the TokoToko characters. Talk to kids about what art means to them. How do they prefer to express themselves artistically?

  • AR helps tech blur the lines between screens and "real life". Discuss your family's approach to using tech, including guidelines and policies on screen use.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Arts: drawing
  • Skills: Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Paid
  • Pricing structure: Paid ($2.99)
  • Release date: December 1, 2019
  • Category: Family Games
  • Size: 288.30 MB
  • Publisher: Kalank
  • Version: 1.5.4
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.3 or later
  • Last updated: December 17, 2019

For kids who love AR and creativity

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