Tesla Toy will help keep the young ones well occupied

First Impressions

As this is a game designed more for young children, we didn’t really expect to be blown away or anything. Our best friend had her niece and niece’s young son visiting for a week or so, and as he had more energy than all three of us combined, we had to find ways to keep him entertained. As much as we found Spongebob Squarepants more interesting than perhaps anyone over the age of 12 should, 20 episodes in a row were proving to be a bit much and so we turned our heads to our iPads.

He had always had a fascination with fireworks, and so when we stumbled upon this particular app, we figured it would fit the bill nicely. It wasn’t pricey, so what did we have to lose?

How it works

It takes complete advantage of the sensitive touchscreen on certain Apple devices (like the iPad) to create moving works of art. There appear to be tiny fireflies zipping about on the screen, but the minute you put a fingertip on it, light bursts of different colours gravitate towards you. The more fingers you use, the more designs you get. You can get moving swirls, bolts of light, or just tap away for your own private fireworks show.

There is a barely discernible touch menu button in the top left-hand corner that makes a few options accessible. You can turn the “Sticky Fingers” feature on and off. When it is activated, Sticky Fingers remembers where your fingers were last positioned, so even when you remove them the lights are still pulsating around those points. If you turn the feature off, the moment you lift your digits from the screen it goes back to default mode.

Keeping the feature on is particularly useful when you want to take a picture of your handiwork. This is the next option on the menu – a photo button. The great thing is that it works even on the original iPad (which has no built-in camera). So you activate Sticky Fingers, swirl around the screen until you get a pattern you like, then touch the camera icon and voila! You have saved your artwork to your Photos on your iPad.

When we played

The minute we loaded this on our iPad, the great-nephew was all over it. His mother fancied that he could be some budding Picasso and after seeing some of the 50 photos he snapped over a period of 15 minutes, we had to concur. He was completely absorbed by the game, and we happily watched some of our own shows on television and chatted as his wee hands became a blur on that screen. We had a screen protector on the iPad, so even when he had finished over an hour later and his greasy paws had smeared it a bit, all that was required was a quick wipe and the device was as good as new.

A few months later we were on a flight to New York and with no one we knew around us, decided to give Tesla Toy a go ourselves. It was surprising how addictive it was, trying to see all the different shapes and supernovas we could create. We might have been playing for much longer if a screaming child in the row in the front of us hadn’t commanded immediate attention. The parents had clearly not expected the little monkey to act up so badly, and were now desperate to find something to entertain him. We realised our mission was clear. We handed over our iPad with the Tesla Toy on the screen, and all of a sudden the cabin was blanketed in blissful silence again. It was at that precise moment that we realised this app was worth its weight in gold.

Final thoughts

This can be fun for adults, certainly in the short-term, unless you’re an artist and can manipulate the program to the point that photos of your attempts suddenly become all the range and before you know it you’re opening your own Tesla exhibition. That might be a stretch… This game is definitely geared towards the younger user and will fascinate them for some time. It’s easy for them to play, you don’t have to explain any rules or methods; you just have to turn it on and let them go. If you want a bit of peace and quiet, this could be just the ticket.

PROS: Extremely simple to understand. Inexpensive. Does not need Internet access to be used. Will occupy young children for a while. Nuff said.

CONS: Might be nice if it had a few more features. If you’re not careful your child will use up all your storage space with photos of the pretty fireworks.

TESLA TOY

Seller: Pavel Doichev

Cost: $1.99

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

RATING: Three stars, EC (Early Childhood)

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