AppStore User Rating:
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
- Eye-catching artwork
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, I did not receive any communication from the app, website, or company. Developers also advertise coloring sheets and offline activities, but I did not see any way to access these either. Upon speaking to the developers after first publication, I was informed that the sign up process (and the access to the supplementary activities) typically takes 2-3 days.
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. Also, at least based on the free sample that I was able to see, there is not a lot of content in general.
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 little content or 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 app quickly.
A limited version of this app is available for free in the App Store, but the sample even feels quite limited. Children will be likely to play through the free content in a few moments, and the in-purchase seems to be a bit pricy if it is similar to the free content. For $1.99, parents can get access to three more worlds, which, in the free version, have 2 puzzles each. This is consistent with the developers’ promises of five worlds and ten puzzles, so it may not seem like a lot of content.
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)