If you have children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, chances are good that you’re already familiar with the Academy Award-nominated animated short film “Room On The Broom.” The story began as an award-winning book, and has become popular throughout the world, translated into many different languages.
A kindly witch rides around with her cat on a broom, and as they go along, they pick up further passengers, including a frog, dog, and a bird. The cat isn’t always thrilled about the extra passengers, but by the time they’ve all been accommodated, that is one luxury method of transport, with seats, a bath and shower! Emirates airline could probably take a leaf out of this witch’s book.
As night follows day, so a best-selling book has been made into a film, which has then led to an app. The Room On The Broom app is a great companion to the book and film, as children will already be familiar with the characters, offering interactive play with the same lovely sound track.
My two nephews love Room On The Broom, and I have to say that I don’t exactly hate it either. When they came round to visit a weekend or so ago, I figured I’d test the app out on its target subjects. My first impression was that it was a big hit.
How it works
The scene opens to the witch on her broom with a happy cat up front, and a sign in the bottom right-hand corner that says “Games.” Tap on the sign, and suddenly the landscape moves forward across the screen to briefly show you all the games that lie ahead. It will then back up to the beginning, and the witch in a circle. Tap on her, and you’re off to the races!
Your first job is to join the stars by dragging your finger from one star to the next. The witch will then follow.
Once they are all joined, you have to guess, based on the images you’re shown, what the constellation could be. There is just enough instruction to help you, without too much coddling.
Guess the first image, and you’ll win a bronze medal. Then you have to try to get two images in a row (that’s a silver medal), and finally, three images will get you a gold medal.
All the games work in a similar way, moving through bronze, silver and gold medals by making the parameters a little more difficult.
Tap on the dog, and you’re trying to find the hidden witch’s hat in the forest. It took Auntie Vicki about 24 goes the first time, so perhaps this app is valid for people over the age of 5 after all.
The cat takes you to a windy day where leaves, plants and animals float by the screen, as if on the wind. You have to collect golden leaves, and some special items that the cat shows you, which collect along the bottom.
The bird challenges you to find the bow, which much like the hat, can be a bit more difficult to discover than you’d originally suspect; and the frog brings you to marshland, where the wand is hiding somewhere.
Just when you think you’ve searched for enough objects for one day, you come to the final three games. The wand and broom symbols give you “Drawing with Stars,” where you can move stars around the screen, and then join them up by tapping the witch on her broom. It’s fun to send her in loads of opposing directions, and if you require more stars, simply look in the cauldron to your bottom right.
The dragon game requires you to move him under the French fries he craves, so he can gobble them up. Careful about having him accidentally eat something else, however, or he might end up with a bit of gas.
The last game is activated by tapping on the image of the witch on her broom, with all of her passengers sitting in comfort as they pass the moon. This is where YOU get to steer the broom! Now you might think at the beginning that it’s just a fun and leisurely way of bobbing through the stars, but of course there’s an educational catch. It isn’t long before a word appears on the screen, and you start heading towards random letters. The trick is to find the letters that make up the word, and direct the broom to them. There’s no need to tap on the letters, and if you approach from too high an angle, it might not register. Try coming up from the bottom of the letter to capture it. It won’t be long before you’re an expert, a-spellin’ like a fiend.
When I played
My nephews loved this app. One of them is 3 years old, and the other is 1½; both of them were instantly enthralled with the screen of the iPad when I brought it up. We found the witch’s hat after a few goes, but the wand took a bit longer, and so our gold medal had to wait for a while. One of the favorite games was the dragon trying to eat the French fries, although we fed him a lot of brooms and other debris along the way, which brought on belching fits. Oodles of fun!
It’s a little pricey for what you get ($4.99 in the App Store) but it’s worth it for the familiar characters that most children will recognise, and its lovely music and animation. It could probably offer a bit more variety, but why harp? My nephews were quiet and enjoyed it right up until Auntie Vicki’s iPad was completely drained of battery power. She plugged it in PDQ before there was a riot. Nuff said.
Offers familiar characters from a beloved book and film. Nice interaction. No in-app purchases.
A little expensive for what you receive in return.
- Room on the Broom: Games
- Cost: $4.99
- Seller: Magic Light Pictures Ltd
- Devices: iOS and Android
- Rating: E for Everyone