Scribabble ($0.99) by Beaver Creek Group is a game for children that’s designed to teach literacy while keeping them engaged. This is accomplished by the game’s deceptively simple, Scrabble-based concept, a format that will appeal to small children by making them feel “adult.”
Scribabble is essentially everyone’s favorite crossword board game (Scrabble), only rewritten with simpler rules and a touch-based interface. The title is based on threes, offering three letters to choose from, as well as a simple crossword composed of three letter words.
Each word has a space for two available letters. Children must choose between the options, clicking the appropriate letter, and then the correct spot to spell whole words. If the child is especially perceptive, there’s a fair amount of process of elimination involved, too.
However, considering the developmental level of the target age group (ages 3-6) this doesn’t offer much of a chance to cheat. Rather, this reinforces analytical thinking in the toddler, encouraging them to distinguish combinations of letters as distinct words.
That’s all there is to Scribabble. The app is surprisingly light on features. There’s a running tally along the top that clues parents and children alike into how many combinations have been entered successfully. Other than this, there aren’t any other interface menus or much else to speak of.
This is far from a deal breaker, however. In fact, it keeps the app focused, ensuring the child won’t be distracted by other animated elements or interesting baubles. Though, a little more functionality would have been appreciated.
I especially would have liked to see age group variety, in the sense of a settings option to specify the age of the player. Allowing users to swap between three, four, or five letter words would open up a world of learning possibilities for Scribabble.
That being said, Scribabble is certainly a bargain at $0.99 in the App Store. For that money, parents will be able to encourage their child’s language acquisition on both the iPhone and iPad.
The interface is simplistic but solid, while the gameplay itself is classic and educational. As long as your expectations are properly set, you’ll find a lot to like in Scribabble.