Inventioneers

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Inventioneers opens the door to creative and inventive play by challenging users to solve problems. Users can position objects and tiny helpers called Inventioneers to accomplish each goal while learning about physics concepts.
4.8

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 3.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Each chapter of Inventioneers presents a clear problem, such as moving a cat from the tree into its owner’s basket. The interface is intuitive, allowing nearly anyone the ability to experiment and create until the problem is solved. A resource bank of invention parts and small “helper” characters is provided at the bottom of the screen, and users must arrange them to accomplish the given goal.

Features include:

  • Realistic object movement
  • Creativity, persistence and problem-solving
  • Engaging format
  • Create and share inventions with friends
  • 14 inventions to create in free version of the app

Quality

Inventioneers works like a well-oiled machine, providing a nearly perfect environment to experiment. The app is fully responsive, using the drag function to allow users to set up their creations to solve the given problems. Some of the small characters need a bit of figuring to determine how to activate them, though. It would be nice if there were a more explicit set of instructions tucked away in the parents’ area to allow adults to help children when they get stuck without the adult having to learn the game completely. The full version of the app does include the option to “unlock” the solutions to all levels, but that seems a bit extreme. How about a hint system?

Education

It’s difficult to overestimate the value of problem-solving and creativity, and Inventioneers more than does justice to nurturing both skills. Players (young and old) will be challenged by the tasks set forth. How can you use a swinging boot, a funnel, an apple, and “Windy” (a small helper with a blow dryer) to move a cat out of a tree and into its distraught owner’s basket? This and fourteen other puzzles are offered in the free version of the app, and the full version opens up a whopping 98 more inventions. The action is reminiscent of “The Incredible Machine” that fascinated my children for years, and still does today, on a desktop computer.

Best of all, children will be learning about a lot of important physics concepts as they play. This app’s designers did an outstanding job on the physics engine that makes it work. Objects bounce realistically, they teeter precariously if not balanced correctly, and they fall just the way they are supposed to. In addition, players learn a lot about prediction, cause and effect, and many other fundamental skills that we usually take for granted.

One highly intriguing feature of this app is the capability (even in the free version) to design your own invention puzzles.  After viewing the tutorial and creating a user file, you can create new puzzles and share them. Imagine the possibilities! Are the given puzzles too tough for your child right now? Make some easier ones. Has your child completed all of the puzzles? Challenge him or her to make a new one and let you give it a try.

Entertainment

Inventioneers is highly entertaining. The small helpers that make each invention work are adorable, and the other graphics are captivatingly detailed. The sound effects are very realistic, as well. Balls rolling through pipes sound exactly like balls rolling through pipes, so even though the action is invisible, your mind fills in the gaps and there is no surprise when the ball pops out of the other end.

Value

The full version is well worth the price. It includes eight chapters, more than 100 levels, over 40 objects to use, 10 more characters to help with tasks, and 7 additional “inventioneers” that players can use to help the contraptions work. Characters such as “Blaze,” “Zappy” and “Freezie” add even more fun and flexibility to the app in the full version.

It’s always nice when developers provide a working, self-contained free version.  There are enough puzzles to find out if your youngster will enjoy the app before you plunk down the purchase price, and the capability to make your own puzzles is an unexpectedly nice feature.  Even the 14 free puzzles in the first chapter will keep most kids busy for quite a while.

Child Friendliness

Inventioneers is somewhat child friendly. The app is intended for elementary school children, most of whom can read well enough to bypass the parent gate, which calls for swiping two fingers in a random direction.  The Parents’ Area contains outside links, social media links, email newsletter sign up and the privacy policy.  There is also access to the “unlock” button that will reveal the answers to all of the puzzles. Developers should strengthen the parent gate.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

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