Exciting times recently for my blog – my Facebook page now has more than 500 likers, the blog has been viewed more than 20,000 times and now I am welcoming my first ever guest poster! Kirsten Ferguson is one-half of the wife-husband team that is Close 2 Home Apps, LLC, the developer of the AAC app, So Much 2 Say. Kirsten was asked to review an app and as she currently doesn’t have a blog of her own, she asked if she could post the review on mine. I, of course, am honoured to have her here. To add to the excitement she also has 3 copies of the app to giveaway. You can enter the giveaway via rafflecopter here.
So, without further ado, I will hand you over to Kirsten:
Type: Universal; designed for both iPhone and iPad
Released: May 30, 2012
Size: 11.9 MB
Languages: English, Arabic, Assamese, Bengali, Bokmål, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Developer: iBurger Apps
PuzzleMyLife is a virtual, 15-piece slider puzzle, or “Mystic Square” puzzle. I remember playing these plastic puzzles as a child. Do you remember those inexpensive birthday party favors? There was room for 16 small squares but one was always missing to allow you to slide the other pieces in an attempt to put the picture back in order. I have to say, the one thing this app is missing is the ability to pop out one of those squares when you’re really frustrated and just can’t get the picture back in order! However, the amount of choices in determining the level of complexity more than makes up for this.
How Do You Play?
- Select the image you want to make a puzzle out of from your iPad Photo Library or take a new picture instantly with your device’s built-in camera.
- Choose the configuration (# of squares that make up your puzzle).
- Decide the level of difficulty (how much shuffling of the squares you want).
- Play! Simply touch the square you want moved into the empty space next to it (make sure that square is next to an empty space or you will not be able to move it).
What I Love
One of the coolest features of this app is that you get to use your own images. The design is simple and intuitive. Touch one of 2 icons to either grab a picture from your photo library or take a new picture on the spot. In a matter of seconds you have an image to play with. This means you’re going to make a puzzle out of an image that is familiar, meaningful, and motivating to your child. Use pictures of familiar people, cartoon characters, favorite toys … the options are endless. You can grab any image off Google Images by touching the picture for a second and choosing to save the image. Go back into the app and access your photo library to create a new puzzle with the image you saved from Google Images just 10 seconds ago.
Another great feature is the ease of customization with regard to difficulty. Once you’ve chosen the image you can select how many pieces you want to have in your puzzle; you do not have to go for the traditional 4X4 configuration (16 boxes with one empty space = 15 piece puzzle). Younger children or those with special needs can begin with a more simple 3X3 configuration (8 piece puzzle). Adults and older children who really want a challenge can try an 8X6 configuration (47 piece puzzle). There are 7 choices altogether. But the customization does not end there. Your final choice is in regard to how well you want the image “shuffled.” There are 3 levels of complexity to choose from.
David, the developer, who is now designing his 3rd child friendly app, explains another unique feature of PuzzleMyLife as follows,
“ …when you choose a “square-configuration” (same numbers of columns and rows) from a rectangular picture, you can slide it to focus on the part of the picture you prefer. The scrollbar allows you to zoom in up to twice the original size (from 1.0 to 2.0X) and slide/focus on the region you prefer. These features are great because if you take a picture from the app, you can “improve” your pic without having to save it, quit the app, deal with the pic in an image manipulation app, then come back and load the modified pic from the library. You can zoom and center a face, an object, an animal, any life moment taken on the fly.”
Finally, this app can support users of any language. This is due in part to its intuitive design, but also to the use of easy to understand icons rather than written language.
My Wishlist of possible improvements
- A “sliding” option for learners who need a more concrete learning experience, although for myself I prefer to simply touch a square and it moves.
- The ability to save some of my favorite puzzles to use again.
- I would like to see the completed puzzle before the cute trophy pops up and cheers.
- Bug fix – icons are not always visible in landscape. Changing orientation to portrait resolves the issues but it is still a bit of an annoyance.
- Simple and intuitive design
- creates fun, meaningful learning experiences for children and adults of all ability levels
- customizable to meet the individual needs of the user
If you would like to win a copy of PuzzleMyLife, then click here to enter the giveaway.