App Reviews: My Little Pony Party of One

My Little Pony: Party of One is an interactive storybook app by PlayDate Digital.   The story follows Pinkie Pie who, having just thrown a Birthday Party for her very good friend Gummy, decides to host another celebration the very next day.  Yet, to Pinkie Pie’s surprise, it appears that none of the other Ponies are available to come. And so a mystery is afoot.  For Pinkie Pie, that is.  I’d pretty much guessed the ending. Here’s what my 4 year-old daughter and I thought:

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What We Liked:

The interactivity.  There’s little difference between a storybook and a game to a child holding an iPhone.   An app has, on average, about 30 seconds to prove itself worthy of their attention.  Merchandizing isn’t enough.  If an app has too few objects to engage my daughter, or dozens of sub-menus overwhelming her with choices, she’ll grow bored regardless of how beloved the main character is. “Party of One” found a wonderful balance between narrative and animated flourishes.  After her third time through, she offered this: “I like it.  Every single time.”

The Humor.  The Ponies are silly.  Obviously, as a grown man, I’m not the target audience for Pinkie Pie’s social woes.  But watching my her burst out of a barrel made my daughter and I giggle like crazy.

Sight Word Round Up.   A nice little feature where, after the story has concluded, kids can swipe through a list of words (each accompanied by a picture) to improve their vocabulary.  My daughter read every word.

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What Could Be Better:

The Menu.  Miniscule and tucked away in the upper-left corner, the main navigation tab is barely discernible within the illustrations.  Hence, my daughter was consistently frustrated she was unable to access it, despite the exorbitant amount of tapping.

Possible Bug.  For some reason, I was able to view my signal strength, cell carrier, time, and battery percentage within the program.  I checked other storybook apps to see if it was a problem with iOS 7, but they were fine.  It’s not a major issue, but when covering a significant portion of the Menu tab (already at a disadvantage), it became bothersome.

Phrasing.  I know.  This is going to sound nit-picky. But maybe just tweak the rest time between the words “After Birthday Party” so it doesn’t sound so much like “Afterbirth Day Party.”  Which is an invitation I would decline, as well.

In summation, if your child enjoys My Little Pony and liberal use of your phone, “Party of One” is a great way to help build vocabulary; teach about honesty in friendships; and keep them entertained.

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Review by Rodney Sterbenz
Disclosure: Rodney was provided a free copy of this app for this review – his words are his own.