Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue ~ Chuggington Interactive Pop-up Book Review
Chug Patrol: Ready to Rescue is an interactive book for iOS and Android that is very much on the right track
StoryToys, the company behind this app, is an award-winning developer and when you begin to use Chug you quickly see why. It has built a reputation for producing solid, innovative pop-up books that have engaging stories and wonderful visual effects – and these are seen in all their glory in this wonderfully delicious offering that tells the tale of Chug and his numerous pals.
Navigating is easy; the pages can be flipped with a swipe left or right or by hitting the arrow buttons in the corners. Lively narration reads the words on screen in an approachable manner, slow enough for children to be able to follow and learn to read as they play. This can also be turned off to encourage independent reading.
Jovial music plays in the background as the pages are turned but this app is not purely about the reading experience. Some pages pop-up, showing Chug and his friends in 3D and turning the book into a gaming experience. These are simple yet fun, letting little fingers clear logs, or capture red carts as they speed past. Lovely sound effects complete the effect and, when each game ends, children can resume reading.
This approach contextualises the games and it also breaks things up to the extent that children will want to push ahead and read, knowing there is a reward awaiting them as they get through the book. None of the games are overly long either so they are perfect for parents who don’t want their children to spend ages on a game, becoming addicted in the process. These are short, snappy slices of fun that work so well with incredibly detailed, cartoon-like graphics which really shine on the screen of tablet.
The main problem, however, is that is too short. There are 21 pages in total but, because the games are over quite quickly, it won’t occupy a child for too long and the games are perhaps not engaging enough for repeat play. The production values are high but this shortness does make us question the value for money in terms of time.
Gorgeous and fun, Chug Patrol is a polished app that is perhaps just a bit too short to be truly satisfying.
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