MosaicHD ($0.99) by PopAppFactory mimics the old-fashioned wooden pegboard games that have been playroom staples for generations.
It has such an organic feel, I want to call this a toy, not an app, and it’s a steal at $.99.
This simple yet sophisticated game is great fun for children and even appealing to creative adults.
The board looks wooden and 3D. You have knobs to turn and buttons to push rather than just places to tap.
The game comes with both a small board with large pegs for the smallest fingers, and a large pegboard with small pegs for older kids. The pegs come in a vibrant assortment of colors, and you can use them to play several games or create freestyle peg-art.
The game board, or more aptly the interface, is intuitive, engaging and uncluttered.
If you choose to play with a pre-patterned card (available for both boards with varying difficulty levels) you are presented with a selection of pictures to copy.
There are two modes of play for both boards.
To make this fun rather than frustrating, there is a “help” mode ideal for little ones.
For more of a challenge, kids can try to recreate the picture from a scaled-down image on the side. Tapping on the image will quickly overlay your work with correct placement without revealing the whole solution.
In “your masterpiece” mode, anyone can create freeform designs and easily share creations via e-mail and Facebook.
The optional Zen-like ambient soundtrack is another ingenious touch. It shows how much thought went into every aspect of this deceptively simple edu-app.
The music creates a tranquil environment to foster perseverance and creativity instead of distracting from the task at hand.
That alone sets it apart from most app offerings for children. It is colorful and appealing, but has no unnecessary bells and whistles.
PopAppFactory seems to understand that with kids, less is often more.
The specific educational benefits vary depending on age, but there is something for every stage of development. And the app rewards achievement at every level.
MosaicHD is close to perfection, but needs a bit of fine-tuning: peg placement can be frustrating on the big board.
It is too easy to remove pegs by accident or misplace them by missing the hole by the tiniest margin.
Notwithstanding, this app is a winner. It is the rare educational app that encourages patience along with learning and will engage every member of your family.
MosaicHD is more toy than app and a must-have for parents looking for intelligent, original, guilt-free screen-time for their little learners.