Say hello to Alfie Atkins, a well known character from Nordic children’s books who was first introduced in 1972 by Swedish author Gunilla Bergstrom. Alfie has been in many books but now he has his very own movie and it’s this movie on which the Hocus Pocus Alfie Atkins app is based. The app has been developed for children between the ages of 3-9 and it will be their job to join with Alfie as goes on an adventure, exploring his world and solving a special problem.
Alfie’s imaginary friend, Malcolm, has hidden a gift for Alfie high up in the clouds. In order to climb up and reach his surprise Alfie has to add a few extra stories onto his treehouse. At the beginning of the app Malcolm explains that Alfie needs to collect three boards to build an extra story onto the treehouse. As Alfie travels to different locations he’ll have the chance to meet other characters from the movie and books while he’s looking for boards. Sometimes the boards will be easy to spot but at other times children will have to complete a mini-game in order to earn one. There are also fun little surprises that Alfie can pick up along the way and use to decorate his treehouse.
Hocus Pocus Alfie Atkins uses a wide variety of mini-games. They all fit in well with the app’s storyline and they have a nice range of difficulty. The narration and commentary for the games is well done. There is one game where you must carry soup in a ladle from a pot to a bowl, by dragging your finger across the screen. If your finger pauses or wavers then the soup spills on the table. My table was a mess! I enjoyed the commentary during that game, it was more than a repeated “Oh no!” or “Look out!”. Instead it was more of “Look what a mess you are making!” or “Oh, that is not good!”. comments along those lines. Here is a list of what’s covered in the mini-games:
- Washing dishes with Alfie’s dad
- Playing ball
- Treasure Hunt
- Sing-a-long with Alfie and his friends
- A Pirate’s cannon game
- A Pirate’s Duel
- Help Alfie and his friends dance
As children help Alfie complete his mini-games and work his way through the adventure, additional content unfolds. The app feels like a story that children are playing a part in. I enjoyed this type of game and thought it was a nice change of pace from the faster games that are available for this age range. The only thing that gives me pause about the app is its price. Hocus Pocus Alfie Atkins is very well done, and it has been developed for both the iPhone and iPad, but the current price seems high. I do think that it will take children a little while to finish the app, perhaps that is part of the reason behind the price. If you’d like to try out the app before you buy it, the developers have made a free version with limited content available in the app store. Other than the price I’d definitely recommend Hocus Pocus Alfie Atkins if you have a Preschooler or Kindergartener. The adventure/exploration concept is fun to experience and I think that children who don’t already know Alfie will quickly become fond of him.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.