Can you help Sid the snail find somewhere quiet to nap?

First impressions 

Are we all just big kids at heart? Well the Noisy Neighbours app from the U.K. may be just the app to test that theory. Based on the book of the same name, it’s an interactive story full of intrigue, centering around whether or not a snail will find somewhere quiet to nap. I know; it’s riveting stuff. 

The narrator is a very enthusiastic British gentleman, taking us through a land of animals and bugs, as we search for solitude. I confess that what drew me to this app in the first place was the hint that I might be able to lend my own voice to the proceedings. I may not have any children of my own, but I do have a young niece and two nephews, so it’s not a bad idea for me to become au fait with apps geared towards the little ones. 

Noisy Neighbours was $4.99 in the App Store, which caused me to briefly swallow, but then at least there were no in-app purchases to worry about. What could one possibly buy extra in such an app anyway? A bed for the snail? With my siblings’ children’s education in mind, I forked over the money. 

How it works 

Open it up and you’re thrown feet first right into the story. Sid the snail is wanting to nap in his favorite tree, but some chirping sparrows (that would be living on borrowed time if I wanted to sleep) are making wayyyy too much noise, perched on its branches. From there, Sid tries in vain to find somewhere quiet, as he encounters buzzing bees, quacking and splashing ducks, hooting owls, squirrels on springs (as one would find in the wild), badgers and other noisy critters. 

All you have to do is swipe the screen from right to left to move forward through the story, and then tap the word bubbles to hear the narrator continue. Here comes the part that parents may or may not like: every time you tap one of the animals, it makes its unique noise. The foxes are particularly interesting, as apparently when no one’s looking, they sing like a barbershop quartet. That’s EVERY time you tap. So depending on how tap-happy your child is, you could have ducks quacking and owls hooting all day. 

It gets better. If you tap on the “+” icon in the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll suddenly get a bar of images including a spider and a flower. You can drag these onto the picture anywhere you like, but my absolute favorite is the paintbrush on the far left. Tap on it, and it takes you to a drawing surface with a selection of tools and colors. You can now draw anything you want – a cat, dog, pterodactyl, snake, whatever – and (get this) record its sound!

That’s right! You can meow, bark, screech or holler to your heart’s content. Once you think you’ve given it just the right voice, stop the recording and drag your new creature into the mix. If Sid didn’t think he could nap before, just wait ‘till he gets a load of your purple banshee in his tree! 

You can start the story over and over again, and I won’t spoil the ending for you. Just suffice it to say that you’ll probably feel like nap-seeking Sid by the time it’s all over, hours later. 

When I tried it 

After getting over that whopping $4.99 outlay, I negotiated my way through Sid’s land. I didn’t realize that badgers sounded like that, and the foxes, as I mentioned earlier, were a definite surprise. When I initially gave the bar of images a try, it took me a few swipes to get one of them up to where I wanted them. The trick is to tap-and-hold before dragging. 

Once I got into creating my own characters, however, I became a ball of talent, adding strange looking cats, crocodiles and horses to the mix. I “meowed” pretty well, but my “neigh” was pitiful, so when I came to the crocodile, I was feeling less confident about my animal sound emissions. I therefore decided to take a leaf out of the foxes’ book and make my crocodile a singing one. He entered the picture singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” I have to say, he sounded pretty sweet every time I tapped him…over 30 minutes. 

Final thoughts 

I don’t see adults choosing this over Halo 3 or 4…wherever we are in those particular chronicles, but if you have children you’ll probably really like this app. Or they will. Remember, parents, that your device does have a volume switch so you can contain the level of noise to a certain extent. The fact that you can personalize this app to include original creations and sounds is a great feature, but again, you may, like Sid, need somewhere quiet to nap afterwards. 

Pros

Nicely interactive. Easy to use. Great personalization options. 

Cons

A bit pricey for something that could become the bane of your existence. 

Noisy Neighbours
Cost: $4.99
Seller: Tate Gallery
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Rating: E for Everyone 

Sid_Snail.sm

Badgers and owls having conversations in the wild, as they do.

Sid_Snail.smaaa

Now that’s something you don’t see every day.

Sid_Snail.sma

Sid the snail looks in vain for a quiet place to nap.

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