A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Sign in to WALLACE & GROMIT: BIG FIX UP with an Apple or Google account and indicate your time zone. Once in, the experience begins with a short video to set the story: Wallace and Gromit have a new business sending out their crazy contraptions and gadgets to clean up messes throughout the city. Kids are then in charge of coordinating Spic & Spanners as they follow a story that unfolds over multiple days. In the news feed kids see story plot points and updates through videos, audio messages, and text.
A communication section includes audio from story characters describing job requests and follow up messages. The jobs tab lists requests for the business' services. That's where kids coordinate the various contraptions and gadgets that go out to complete the work. In the workshop, kids keep track of the work crew. They collect the spare parts they earn by completing jobs and use those parts to build and upgrade contraptions and gadgets. And in the playground, kids can place their contraptions with AR to play and explore. Some jobs require kids to simply wait a certain amount of time (from minutes to hours) for the contraptions to complete the work. Others involve AR to fix or clean something, or explore a virtual space to find target items.
Is it any good?
For kids who can get past a confusing and complex set up, this interactive adventure is an exciting, entertaining, and innovative approach to gaming and storytelling. Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up takes a lot of patience. First, kids need to work out how all the different parts fit together, and what exactly their role in the story is. Then, many "jobs" involve assigning the right contraptions to do the work -- and then waiting. Finally, the story unfolds slowly, with new material coming over the course of multiple days.
But, these aspects are actually what make Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up delightfully unique. Wallace, Gromit, and the supporting characters are wonderfully animated and voiced -- and are just as wacky and fun as you'd expect them to be. Kids who get into it can really feel as though they're in the story, and it becomes an immersive experience. The AR adds a nice element in which kids move around to act on objects that appear to be in the room with them. That said, Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up isn't really a game -- and that becomes clear with the kinds of jobs that kids are asked to complete. Once a day or at certain plot points, kids can play an AR game to, for example, repair a rocket ship that's caught fire, or explore a room to look for target items. But most of the jobs that kids complete to earn points involve sending out the contraptions they build to jobs and then just waiting as a clock ticks down on however long the job is supposed to take. There, the "game" becomes figuring out how to manage your inventory and coordinate your worker contraptions. One downside is that checking in on how "business" is going can be a real time suck, and can encourage kids to obsessively check their device multiple times throughout the day. Overall though, for kids who have the time -- and patience -- this can be a really fun way to experience a story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Wallace & Gromit: Big Fix Up uses technology to tell a story in a new way. Is it fun to experience a story like this? How is it different from simply watching a movie?
Discuss time management and make your expectations clear about screen time limits. It can be easy to get sucked into this story. When, where, and how often is it okay for kids to check in with the story?
Make it a family thing and play together with your kids.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (app store indicates optional in-app purchases for more content $1.99)
- Release date: January 17, 2021
- Category: Entertainment
- Topics: Adventures, Robots
- Size: 1100.00 MB
- Publisher: Fictioneers Limited
- Version: 1.0.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.0 or later, Android
- Last updated: October 7, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.