Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville, by developer Michael Rigsby, is a children’s book revamped for the iPad that comes with loads of cheek, interactive elements, and cute animations. That being said, the app can feel downright amateur at times, and for the semi-high price of entry (the app clocks in at $3.99 in the App Store) a recommendation is hard to give. For our full thoughts on this mixed-bag of an app, check below the break.
Concept and Functionality
Like other popular iPad apps for littles, Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville is essentially a children’s book repackaged to fit the iPad’s large, digital screen. Both parent and child flick through the content page by page, exploring each layout’s interactive and touch-based elements as they go.
The narrative of the book follows two hapless frogs who witness a country show, and decide to become western music stars. To do so, they must travel to Nashville, where they work for the cash to buy guitars, duds, and a tiny bit of fame. It’s a pleasant tale, though some of the transitions felt rather shaky. At times, it even seemed like the writing had been done by a child: Children’s literature is not known for logic, but bizarre segues are still not the norm.
The interactive elements, it’s worth noting, are where Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville truly shines. Each page is positively laden with clickable bits that produce either a sound, a song, or a piece of dialog. In my test drive of the app, the children I read the book to found the audio stimuli absolutely hilarious (especially the cat in the mailbox) meaning the iPad app is certainly worth the price to have a hoot with your own kids.
Design and Layout
Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville is a very basic affair, offering neither a settings menu nor any form of obvious navigation. In fact, it took me half a minute to realize pages are moved by scrolling from the right to the left. This is an intuitive gesture, but with no visual input to instruct me, I was certainly at a loss.
Likewise, there’s currently no in-app narration of the provided text. This isn’t a bad thing (What book comes with such a feature?) but when so many other children’s apps are using dramatic narration, not having it is a bit of a drag. On a similar note, the music and dialog are very poorly produced, sounding amateurish. Combined with less than professional graphics, Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville can be shaky at times.
Thankfully, the little surprised tucked into Phil and Freddy Go to Nashville’s pages are worth the $3.99 price of entry. The app is pleasant, very funny, and definitely worth a go as you tuck your children in tonight.
Phil and Freddy Go To Nashville requires iOS 4.3. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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