Monday, 17 September 2012

TOCA House (app) by Toca Boca / Bonnier Digital (iPad Version Tested)

TOCA Boca / Bonnier Digital are our new favourite publisher when it comes to fun and beautifully made iOS distractions. Each and every new TOCA app we install on the iPad is met by squeals of delight, followed by mesmerised immersion by Charlotte who absolutely loves everything they do.

Plumping for TOCA House as our first paid-for TOCA App (You can get TOCA Store, TOCA Doctor, TOCA Hair Salon and TOCA Kitchen Monsters as freebie trials) we knew what to expect. Slick and entertaining graphics and characters, excellent sound design, intuitive controls and a lot of fun.

TOCA House puts you in charge of a rather impressive looking domicile inhabited by 5 fun characters. (We've dubbed them Supergirl, Little Boy, Granny, Miss Houseyhead and Monster-Dude) As any ex-student will know, sharing a house is fun for the first day until it comes to performing all those household chores - and this is pretty much the nub of what TOCA House is about.

Each character shuttles between various locations, all armed and ready to perform the day to day spring cleaning, household chores and gardening that the TOCA house needs to keep it in pristine condition.

SuperGirl is great. She has stretchy limbs and is super-strong, so she's a whizz at hanging pictures on the wall. Boy is a dab-hand with a mop. Granny is a whizz with her broom and Monster - well Monster just seems to like getting messy so takes a lot of baths (yep I definitely shared a house with someone like that, who used up an entire day's worth of hot water every morning noon and night).

TOCA House has lots of little activities to get on with, but repetition does set in rather soon - which is a real shame because in the free TOCA Apps there's plenty to see and do, so you expect to see children get a lot more out of the paid-for versions of things.

That said, Charlotte could've quite happily spent an afternoon doing the same chores over and over again (oh if only this were true of real life) just to see the excellent little animations and the funny noises characters emit whenever they've done a job particularly well.

The app seemed to crash once in a while (needing a cold restart to get things running again on iPad 3) but it's beautifully made and definitely felt like a worthy purchase for the price considering what other kid apps go for on iTunes.

Charlotte's best bit: Bathing the monster chap. Definitely her favourite bit.

Daddy's favourite bit: Slick presentation as ever, and some fun and unique characters in true TOCA Boca stylee!