Totally Amp'd!

Common Sense Media says

Tween series and interactive app combine for fun new hybrid.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Mild references to dating and who likes whom. Two girls compete for a boy's attention.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The app includes links to Facebook, Twitter, and the Totally Amp'd! website. Also, the "Bonus Content" button is actually a link to open the Totally Amp'd page on YouTube, but there's no warning that you're leaving the site.

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.

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What's it about?

Totally Amp'd! is a first-of-its-kind app that combines a 10 \"appisode\" tween TV series with in-app activities to form a more interactive entertainment experience for kids.The show's theme is based on a teen band trying to win stardom, and the activities follow the them. Kids can simply watch the show as usual, or click the \"Activities\" option, in which kids can choose record their own voice over the show's songs, create their own music videos using clips from the show, and dress the shows stars in the design studio. In the design studio, kids choose from computer generated images of the show's stars to use to make a promotional poster, album cover or more with images from the outfits they created. Click from dresses, pants, shoes, and shirts, then choose from a selection of materials and designs to come up with a unique outfit.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free (full season $4.99)
Release date:January 26, 2012
Category:Entertainment
Topics:Music and sing-along
Size:925.00 MB
Publisher:XMG Studio Inc.
Version:1.0.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Totally Amp'd! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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