X is for X-Ray
An app where everything isn’t as it seems
You’ll often hear that a good teacher is one who manages to make learning fun. This approach has also been adopted by Touch Press, the end result being a highly entertaining app which blends learning with cutting edge technology and plenty of humour.
X is for X-Ray features 26 high-resolution pictures of everyday objects, from kettles to drums, meaning that there’s an object for every letter of the alphabet. What’s impressive about these otherwise ordinary items, however, is that you can see an X-Ray version of them when you swipe your finger in a downwards motion. Similarly, you’ll be able to change the item in question back to its normal form with an upward swipe. You can also rotate objects left and right with another swipe of your finger. It’s a neat interactive touch that really allows you to appreciate Hugh Turvey’s stunning X-Ray photography.
Another particularly nice innovation is that certain items are more interactive than others, showing additional secrets when you peer inside them. Swipe over the engine, for example, and you’ll be able to see all its pistons pumping away, while swiping over the piggy bank shows that it contains several coins, which can be moved about by tipping your pad. Some objects also allow you to pinch the screen in order to view them in even more detail. While excellent touches, they do highlight the fact that many of the other available items aren’t quite as exciting, or revealing – it would have been cool to see water boiling inside the kettle, for example – which is something of a pity.
Double-tap the screen, and X is for X-Ray becomes even more clever, presenting you with stereoscopic views of the items in question. You’ll obviously need the correct 3D glasses in order to view this mode (although Touch Press does offer an interesting glasses-free alternative to try and use), but it’s a nice touch all the same.
X is for X-Ray isn’t just a stunning selection of photography, however, as it also aims to teach you useful information about the items in question. You will discover that x-rays were discovered by accident, why clock hands turn clockwise, or where piggybanks originated from. The information on offer is not only fascinating, but often delivered in a humorous way that is bound to go down well with the youngsters that X is for X-Ray is obviously aimed at.
If learning genuinely interesting facts wasn’t enough to justify X is for X-Ray’s high price tag, Touch Press has also included 26 genuinely charming rhymes, many of which are very funny. You can either read these rhymes yourself, or listen to them being delivered by famous voice actor Kerry Shale, who has popped up in everything from Doctor Who to popular videogames such as Fable and Driver: San Francisco.
X is for X-Ray’s greatest strength is the incredible slickness of the app itself. Yes, the price is pretty high, but it’s easy to see where the money is going, thanks to the stunning and clever photography. The high production values actually work against X is for X-Ray in a way, though, as you’re left wanting far more than the 26 objects that are available within the app. There’s obviously scope for Touch Press to improve with additional entries later on in the future, but it’s a shame that you don’t get more for your hard-earned cash. Even when bringing its high price into consideration, X is for X-Ray provides a unique approach to learning that should impress children and adults of all ages. Here’s hoping that additional updates are released in the future to keep this excellent idea growing.
It’s certainly pricey, but there’s no denying that X is for X-Ray is both an informative and entertaining app.
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