Wizard of Oz 3D, The Experience

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
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Full, well-narrated version of classic a little too glitchy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The book can be viewed in portrait or landscape view, and there are four size options for the text. The app is occasionally glitchy, such as the narration and highlighting getting out of sync, the screen freezing, or the sound not responding. The narration by a man and a woman is clear and engaging, and the text is highlighted as the words are read. Muting sound during the story pauses the narration so users can tap arrows to move forward and back at their own pace. When opening the app, users can choose to return to the story where they left off or begin again. Progress cannot be saved for multiple users, but there is a menu link on every page with a table of contents. The color and black-and-white illustrations have some animation, are drawn with a 3-D perspective, and can be viewed from side and top angles.

Violence

Frequent scenes in the story are violent and scary, from the initial cyclone to flying monkeys pulling apart the Tin Man and Scarecrow. Characters in the book promote and celebrate killing wicked witches, though the deaths are accidental. In their fight with the beasts of the Wicked Witch of the West, the main characters kill 40 wolves with an ax and 40 crows by breaking their necks. The illustrations in this app, though, are not graphic.

Sex

The Tin Man relates a story of being in love with a girl and wanting to marry her until he lost his heart.

Language

Two of the witches and their actions are described as evil, and Oz is described as "uncivilized."

Consumerism

From the menu link on each page, there are links for the developer's website, to purchase more books from the developer, to sign up for a newsletter, and to send feedback. After several chapters, a window pops up asking the user to rate the app with a link to more of the developer's books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, Dorothy and the Lion are lulled to sleep and almost killed by the scent of poppies.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wizard of Oz 3D, The Experience is a full, narrated version of L. Frank Baum's classic story with frequent violence. The 3-D illustrations can be rotated and viewed from multiple angles, but there are no 3-D glasses or complex animations. In the story, a young girl is transported by a cyclone to the magical land of Oz, where animals speak and there is a battle of good vs. evil. The girl befriends a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Lion, and together they have adventures, show loyalty to each other and kindness to others, and successfully (though accidentally) kill a wicked witch. Through irony the story teaches people to recognize their inner strengths. Violent and scary scenes are common, but the illustrations are not graphic.

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Is it any good?

WIZARD OF OZ 3D, THE EXPERIENCE has a lovely presentation of this classic story. The narration is well done, particularly the different characters' voices. The experience is less 3-D than suggested by the title, but the few illustrations in each chapter are engaging and neat to view from different angles. The book-like appearance of the pages and the options to increase the text size are also nice features. However, if you're switching between narration and reading yourself, the glitches are just frequent enough to annoy.  

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