This is my first attempt at making a review for a kid’s game. It poses new challenges, as I have to rely to a great extent upon the experience of others. To test Elmo’s Monster Maker I have used the experiences of my daughters aged 1,2 and 10.
In Elmo’s Monster Maker you get to create a cute monster placing eyes, nose, mouth and hat onto a “blank” face. All three co-reviewers appreciated this, and all of them enjoyed both the different characters and the jolly voice coaching them. The touch controls are easy to use for 2 out of 3 co-reviewers; the 1 one-year-old had general trouble with not letting go when something had been selected.
The main screen once a monster has been created shows your monster standing around. You can poke it, and drag it around the screen. Three activities are available as icons at the bottom of the screen. The camera icon lets you take a picture of your monster that gets saved into the camera roll. This was not really fun to any of the co-reviewers. I myself found it quite nice to get hi-res monster images that can be used for contacts and background for my phone.
The second activity is a gag between your monster and Elmo. The 10-year-old enjoyed the different things Elmo and the monster got up to such as “Duck”, and a duck came flying. She soon found that there are only about five different interactions, and she couldn’t affect it in any way. The youngest co-reviewers found the entire thing quite boring.
The third activity is dancing. You get to see your monster groove along to the looping background music. The music ranges from country western to urban hip hop beats. This was the most appreciated activity by all co-reviewers, and the two-year-old could keep herself busy for quite some time. The music is actually quite catchy even though it is only a matter of looping beats and rhythms.
All reviewers found that the presentation is splendid with hi resolution monsters, and original voice talent. The application clocks in at 114 MB, and I appreciate that the developer has gone for high quality presentation.
When I hand my iPhone to any of the three co-reviewers none of them choose to start Elmo’s Monster Maker. All three co-reviewers want more interaction to be satisfied with a game. According to my definition Elmo’s Monster Maker is not a game, but rather a plaything and should probably be in the entertainment category. I think it is a shame that more hasn’t been done to actually create a game when you have such great characters to work with. At least some interaction like giving the monster food, and a bath would enhance the application for the 10-year-old.
Of course I had to test Elmo’s Monster Maker as well. I enjoyed it for a couple of minutes until I had done everything. After a couple of days I went back to see how my green monster was doing just to find out that the game hadn’t saved my cute creation. All I have left are the memories, and a photo in my camera roll. Loading times are fairly long even for the 3GS, and the game isn’t suitable when you need a quick app to calm a crying child. My wife gave up on trying it on her 3G as loading times got beyond what is reasonable for a kid’s application.
I really hope that the developer creates a game using the Elmo universe. Elmo’s Monster Maker is not a game that could please any of my co-reviewers or myself for more than a couple of minutes. It lacks content, and ways to interact with the monsters. The 1-year-old would appreciate a sandbox mode petting the monster, the 2-year-old would appreciate a puzzle or memory using the monsters and the 10-year-old wants a Tamagotchi/Nintendogs mode. I can’t recommend Elmo’s Monster Maker to any age group at the moment at the high price of $3.99. At a dollar it would be an ok entertainment application as you get monster images to use for other purposes.
Elmo’s Monster Maker $3.99
Seller: Sesame Workshop Apps