A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Very easy to use. Watching "appisodes" is as easy as pressing "Play." The related activities on the app are also simple and self-explanatory.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mild references to dating and who likes whom. Two girls compete for a boy's attention.
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Products & Purchases
The app download and first episode are free, but to watch the rest of the season (nine more "appisodes") it's a $4.99 in-app purchase. There's no hint of this on the app prior to watching the first show, although it is mentioned on the app's page in the App Store. Since the activities surround the show's characters and music, there's a lot of subtle branding. For example, while there's nothing being sold on the app other than the in-app purchase for the series or any sort of direct advertising, kids can create posters and album covers for the band as part of the activities.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Totally Amp'd! is a first-of-its-kind app that combines a TV sitcom-style series with in-app activities that kids can play that relate to the show. The app and first "appisode" are free, but then you need to pay $4.99 to watch the other nine shows and find out the conclusion of the show's storyline, which revolves around a group of five teens getting together to form a band and participating in a competition to become "the next big thing" in pop music. The story and activities -- such as dressing up the show's stars, creating your own music videos from clips of the show, and recording your own voice over the show's songs -- seem geared mostly to tweens and younger teens. Overall, an interesting concept with some fun activities that's sure to be the beginning of many similar show series apps.
Is It Any Good?
TOTALLY AMP'D! may be the first but most likely won't be the last app to combine watching a tween television series-style show with in-app activities to form a more interactive entertainment experience for viewers. The series storyline on this app -- kids meet to form a band, personality conflicts and other challenges create drama, if they win the big contest they'll become the next hit sensation -- may be a little worn at this point as Disney and Nick have both been there, done that in a number of various forms. But many tweens and some teens will likely find the cast and its story funny, cute, and interesting enough to want parents to pay the $4.99 to watch the rest of the season after the first "appisode" freebie. The activities are fun and a couple of them incorporate some simple music and video production, which is cool for kids who connect to the musical aspect of the show.
Parents may want to talk to their kids about some of the more subtle forms of advertising and promotion that go on with series directed at kids these days, as some of the activities are promotional without being clear that they're advertising, but still have the effect of motivating kids to want to buy the rest of the series. It's a tricky balance, but one that will likely be an ongoing trend on apps such as this.
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