Shingu the Sheep – Fantasy Puzzle Adventure App Review
Shingu the Sheep – Fantasy Puzzle Adventure follows the nighttime adventures of Shingu the Sheep who has fantastical dreams and wants to remember them long enough to share with his friends. Very young children can help build fantasy worlds for Shingu by dragging shapes to matching outlines to build other characters and decorate their worlds.
5 worlds (2 free)
10 puzzles (4 free)
Puzzles become increasingly challenging
Shingu the Sheep is a good quality app that is intuitive to use and easy to play. The app is very simple and would be easy for the very young to play. Developers recommend ages 1 to 4. The first two levels (4 puzzles) are available on the free version, then parents are presented with an in-app purchase to access the other six puzzles in three worlds.
After the first “world,” however, the app demands a parent’s participation by holding three shapes simultaneously. It asks for a parent’s email address at that point, saying that the parents’ “mission” is to help the main character to avoid forgetting his dreams. However, when I put in my email address, it was over a week before I received the email. The email included requests for rating, request to complete a survey, links to printable coloring and activity pages, and a link to a gallery where parents could upload pictures of their child’s drawings related to the app. The descriptions mention that parents will be asked to “keep the badges safe,” but I’ve seen no reference to that in the two emails that I received.
The app could be improved by adding a bit more information for parents; while game play is very intuitive, it might help parents to interpret the story and help children get excited about it if there was a bit more information within the app itself. Most of the information that I was able to uncover came from the description in the App Store, and parents are not likely to want to work that hard.
This app is educational for the very young. The first two levels focus on visual perceptual readiness skills such as figure-ground, matching complex shapes, and closure. Children need to drag the given shape to the highlighted outline on the screen, so they also will have opportunities to practice basic tablet usage skills such as drag and drop. The skills will seem very basic, however, to most preschoolers and definitely to children in kindergarten and beyond. The paid levels are similar, but are more cognitively demanding. Each picture becomes more intricate, and children must use skills such as visual closure to find where partial pieces fit in the puzzle. Some items are partially concealed behind other items.
Shingu the Sheep has an interesting premise, which is helping the title character remember his dreams and then share about them with his friends. However, there seems to be relatively variation among the content items that I saw. The youngest children will likely be intrigued by the process of moving the shapes to their outlines, but this is not likely to hold most children’s interest for any length of time, and kids are likely to outgrow the free part of the app quickly. Upgrading to the paid portion will extend the app’s useful life.
A limited version of this app is available for free in the App Store, but the sample feels quite limited. Children will be likely to play through the free content in a few moments, and the in-purchase has recently been reduced by 30%. It’s not clear if this is a limited time offer, or a permanent reduction. For approximately $1.40, parents can get access to three more worlds, which have 2 puzzles each. This is consistent with the developers’ promises of five worlds and ten puzzles.
This app is child-friendly, with an effective parent gate protecting a parents’ section with ratings, privacy, and information about the developer. This part is wonderful, and very child-friendly. However, when children complete the first level, there is a parent gate that stops their progress until a parent either puts in an email address for the “parent mission” or declines that option. After the two free levels are completed, there is another parent gate that leads to an in-app purchase of the additional three levels.
Protected parent area (contains rating system, feedback link, and privacy info)
NO social media
NO 3rd party ads
YES in-app purchase (protected, but a barrier to continued play)
Shingu the Sheep- Fantasy Puzzle Adventure is an app with potential that seems as yet to be unrealized. The premise of the game is fun for toddlers and preschoolers, and the target skills will support development, but the free content is limited, and parent input is required after the first level.