Alph and Betty’s Topsy Turvy World
Alph and Betty’s Topsy Turvy World is a real treat! Aimed at children aged 3 to 8, this app blends storytelling, video and games beautifully, all within a themed alphabet world. Starting with A, each page of the book is a room or garden in Alph and Betty’s house, which you explore as Betty to discover the story. This may or may not have something to do with giant carrots, shrinking potions, the future and (not so) scary spiders! After a short introductory film on each page – reminiscent of good old-fashioned children’s animations - the app functions as a puzzle-solving platform game, but the story and dialogue come up in clear text boxes so you can read along too. Each room immerses the reader/player in a particular letter - as a key element of the background, as objects scattered throughout the room, and as highlighted letters in the story text. A particularly fun mini game asks you to find as many objects in the room beginning with that letter as you can before the time runs out (tricky even for grown ups!)
Other mini games and puzzles hidden behind doors in each room are quick and simple but reinforce the letter sounds too.
Alph and Betty comes from Electric Circus, a team with broad experience of working on films , TV series, comics and games. This really shows in the quality of each part of the app, from the animation, to the gameplay, to the soundtrack. The literacy elements are well-integrated without feeling forced and my children just soak them up while playing. It is very slick and has an awful lot of content for the price. With this in mind it’s great that you can go back to your previous session and pick up from where you left off. Electric Circus even use the iPad very inventively towards the end of the story – no spoilers, but there is a very big clue in the app’s title! Have a look at the official trailer (with the music which features in the app) which shows off the app much better than my screen shots. I’m looking forward to seeing what this clever developer comes up with next.
Alph and Betty’s Topsy Turvy World, developed by Electric Circus, compatible with iPad. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/alph-bettys-topsy-turvy-world/id779519807?mt=8 priced at £1.99/US$2.99 at time of writing.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this app but as always this review represents my honest opinion.