Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon

Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon

An iOS game that’s a breath of fresh air

The eponymous naturalist, scientist and big-haired explorer Sir Benfro needs your help to travel around four new worlds using his brilliant balloon.

Pressing a finger anywhere on the screen causes his balloon to rise, while removing it will see it fall. Flying in sweeping curves makes it pick up speed while tapping the screen will slow it down. The balloon gets its soaring power from fireflies, so it’s crucial that you keep collecting these bugs during your travels. You must be careful not to lose any through colliding with any obstructions, or the many bizarre creatures inhabiting the game’s environments.

With simple one-finger controls and a quartet of levels to beat, don’t be fooled into thinking that Sir Benfro is a cakewalk. On the contrary, each stage is a lengthy and challenging gauntlet. Indeed, with no checkpoints, fireflies few in number and a single collision usually spelling the end of your journey, expect to have quite a few frustrating attempts before its addictive qualities start to take effect. As you gradually become more familiar with the stages and enemy positions you find yourself edging that little bit further with each try, and it’s this that hooks you in and keeps you playing.

Rated 4 out of 5

With its charming visuals and novel controls, Sir Benfro takes you on a whimsical journey.

Screenshots


  • TITLE=MAKE ME MUSIC _ GREAT FUN FOR YOUNG KIDS!;RATING=5;Stylishly rendered Garage Band for beginners that lets kids express their inner Mozart or Madonna while learning about rhythm and melody in a bright, beautiful sound garden. Make Me Music, is a loud, raucous cacophony of ringing, honking, strumming and banging instruments brought to life by legendary Beatles´ artist Alan Aldridge and the creative folks at FeeFiFoFun.com. The app is very user-friendly with little or no instruction needed. The home screen has a big play button in the centre surrounded by a few instruments including some with hands and feet. Pushing play takes you directly to the music room. It’s anchored by a winding red pipe covered in garlands of flowers that laugh or make funny noises when touched. A question mark in the top left corner brings up basic directions which let parents know that the four flowers across the bottom of the screen control rhythms and the arrows in the bottom right corner let you change the melody from a Caribbean vibe ukulele to a jazzy trumpet. When the melody is changed, the background in the room changes colour as well which gives pre-schoolers a subtle hint to perhaps change the tempo of their composition. All the kid-created symphonies and concertos can be recorded by activating the microphone symbol on the bottom left. Kids get a 3, 2, 1 countdown before recording begins. Compositions can be saved by emailing them to yourself or friends. They are converted to a mp4 format, so once downloaded, tunes can be made into ringtones or used as background music for home movies or whatever creative pursuit calls for maximum banging and clanging. Music is the great equalizer because you are never too young, too old or too disabled to participate in it. The recordings my kids and I made with Make Me Music were not as pretty as the app’s band room, but we had a lot of fun. Private music lessons or even the yuppie filled music classes I took my kids to are expensive and a luxury many families (and increasingly schools) can no longer afford. If the research is to be believed, this $1.99 app which follows the Orff method is a good investment in your child’s academic future. Regardless of your stance on the importance of music education, Make Me Music is a welcome departure from the plethora of preschool apps and games currently available. Recommended for 3+ ios. http://tinyurl.com/makememusic