Henri Le Worm Review
Raymond Blanc and Simon Pegg team up to teach children cooking and create the number one UK educational app on iPad
A lot of emphasis is being put on better food awareness in both adults and children today, and Henri Le Worm is an app that is trying to do so through that popular mixture of learning and entertainment.
Many apps have tried it in recent years across a broad range of subjects, from human anatomy to maths and language skills. Henri Le Worm is taking things from a slightly different angle, looking to get users to be proactive, providing recipes and cooking methods for a host of the foods mentioned in the app. The idea is to get kids and their parents interested in food, but also the growing process – including the insects in your garden.
The app is built around the story of Henri Le Worm, a chef extraordinaire who, with the help of his friends, is looking to win his garden’s cooking competition. This is before his cookbook is stolen by the pesky Lumpy the Maggot, who’s after the prize for himself. The story is narrated by Simon Pegg so instantly parents will have their interest twigged, and thanks to the constant interactivity, whimsical characters and vivid colours, the kids won’t be bored either.
The story makes an effort to touch upon some of the key areas of nutrition in an entertaining way, for example having you make breakfast pancakes for Henri and his friends to highlight the most important meal of the day. It’s at this point that another clever layer of the app’s features appear – the recipes section. While you’re helping Henri flip pancakes, the app asks you if you’d like to learn how to make them yourself. This links you to the recipes section, which is where Raymond Blanc takes over as master of ceremonies from Mr Pegg. Although there is no narration from the chef, he does offer up some of his favourite family recipes, complete with guides, with certain steps within the instructions highlighted that are ideal for getting kids involved. There are some delicious dishes on offer, and most are mentioned somewhere in the story – nothing like some underlying hints to get you and your kids cooking.
While there are a couple of little bugs lurking within Henri Le Worm but there’s nothing that can’t be fixed in the first update; most issues relate to some lag when trying to navigate between pages, and overzealous interaction that sees a tap on an interactive point that happens to be hovering over a character bring them both to life. In general though, this is a very easy app to navigate – particularly with the clear controls on the screen combined with prompts from the narration to guide – which is a must for any app that wants to interact with children. There are purple hot spots too that appear to indicate a character or object on screen will react when tapped, and there are mini-games littered throughout the various screens to keep the young minds occupied.
This app has done a great job of drawing users in thanks to its great use of colour from the outset; this is a very vibrant app from the moment you pick it up, and there is no doubt that kids will be drawn to it. Thankfully it has more than enough content to keep them occupied once they get here, and the story is balanced enough to also be enjoyable – and potentially educational for adults too.
The narration is lively and interesting enough to keep you engaged, with Simon Pegg bringing his usual energy to proceedings and carrying off the range of voices and characters brilliantly. There’s a great range of personalities throughout the story that younger users will want to interact with, and on most screens that is possible.
Having been developed in part with Blanc’s son, Olivier, some family inspiration has definitely gone into the creation of Henri as a character, and into making gastronomy more accessible for everyone.
Though it’s a tough and competitive part of the App Store to get noticed in, Henri Le Worm has done a brilliant job of being unique, interesting and continuously engaging throughout your usage time, shooting up to the number slot in the Education section in the UK. The fusion of fun story with manageable yet tasty recipes is a brilliant way to get youngsters and adults in the kitchen.
This app has so much to like about it, and the practical side of things means it could keep you coming back for much longer than you first thought.
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