• Cereal Reviews 'Things That Go Bump In The Night'

    Some of you might remember my review of Twilight Sparkle, Teacher for a Day. It's an iOS storybook app for the iPad, and I gave it a healthy recommendation if you have a younger reader whom you want to introduce to ponies.

    Today I'm continuing along the line of My Little Pony apps from Ruckus Media with one of their three new storybooks, 'Things That Go Bump In The Night'. If you go and download their reader app, this one is free, so you can try it out before deciding if you might want to buy the other two.

    With that, let's dive in.

    You can get to all of Ruckus Media's iOS storybooks from their reader app, which you can see here. There's a section for parents in the bottom right so you can track your child's progress through the interactive elements in each book, which I'll elaborate on in a moment.

    It's worth noting that the reader and the storybooks are not optimized for the iPad's Retina display, but this is by no means a deal-breaker and can always be remedied with an update.

    The structure of the book is similar to the Teacher for a Day app. Each page is optionally narrated and all are constructed with high-quality show vectors. This particular book uses assets from Dragonshy, among other episodes.

    Riffing off of the similar feature in their previous MLP offering, the storybook offers an avenue of word retention for the child reading: when an important word is introduced, a sparkle animation is played on top of that element in the book. When you tap on it, the word is repeated, and you're shown a picture of it. The word is then placed in your collection, which you can access by hitting the purple button on the bottom of the screen. You can use your collected words to build pictures at the end of the storybook. I like this mechanic- it both teaches the word in question with repetition and gives the reader an incentive to collect them in the first place to make their collages more interesting.

    Here you can see the picture-buildng exercise I mentioned above. I had collected the word 'backpack' from the first page, so you can see it in my inventory at the bottom. There's even an option to share the picture when you're done.

    The storybook is full of little games, similar to Teacher, like this maze to encourage active participation in the story and to break up the cycle of page-by-page storytelling. In this game you have to tilt the iPad to get Twilight to her destination, which is the campground on the right. Once you reach it the story continues and you receive a new word for your inventory. This one got me the word 'mountain'.

    All in all, I can recommend this offering from Ruckus just as enthusiastically as I could recommend Teacher. The app itself is solid and easy to use for younger children, and the copious amount of pony doesn't hurt. There's also the added benefit of the pricetag, which at the moment is a grand total of zero dollars. For those who were lamenting the price of Teacher, this is a good opportunity to try one of these storybooks.

    And, yes, I was still bad at the maze. Hoof-eye coordination and I don't get along.

    Check out the download page for it here!

    Platform: iOS
    Price: Free
    Verdict: Download