Well, I think I just found my Nirvana. If, like me, you grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, you’ll be drawn to anything involving these hilarious, cuddly creatures. We all have a favorite. Mine was Miss Piggy, when it wasn’t the Cookie Monster, or the Count, or Animal … so difficult to choose just one!
I must admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Elmo – he’s like my Jar Jar Binks of the Muppet family – but I certainly seem to stand alone in that opinion. This much beloved red furry guy has been a sold out Christmas toy for many a year, and he is also the subject of various apps, including the very fun Elmo’s Monster Maker.
Haven’t you always dreamed of creating a Muppet monster of your very own? Well, now you can! Although this app is clearly geared towards entertaining the young’uns of the human race, no one would blame an adult for secretly delighting in trying out different sets of eyes, noses and hats on their very own monster. At least I hope not, because once I’d downloaded this app, I was in full artistic mode, hunkered over my iPad like a cheery Dr. Frankenstein, looking for the perfect combination of features.
How it works
Elmo shows up right at the beginning to give you brief instruction in his signature high pitched voice, basically informing you that eyeless, noseless, hatless monsters will be parading by in a sea of different shapes and colors, and once you see the monster you like, you simply tap on it.
An orange pear-shaped one starts off the auditions, followed by greens, purple, and so on. If you don’t choose one pretty sharpish, Elmo is there in the background, encouraging you to pick a monster. He needs to realize that this kind of life-changing decision can take time.
Anyway, once you tap on your blank canvas monster, the app will start loading all you need to make it come to life. You can start with the eyes. There are some odd choices in the beginning, including peppermint swirls, and stars, but soon you’ll get into the recognizable options of typical Muppet eyes, some with lashes, some with bushy eyebrows, and some covered in funky sunglasses. When you’re satisfied with the peepers you’ve chosen, you can move on to the hats. Again, it begins with atypical noggin adornments, like reindeer or moose antlers, and a festive bow, followed by Christmas hats, berets, and other stylish accessories.
Finally, you have to give your monster a nose, from something that lights up, to a bulbous snoot, or a delicate button schnozz. As you place this final item, your monster will suddenly be complete, and it’s time to move on to phase two.
Elmo, your narrator, cajoler and gentle nagger, now encourages you to play with your monster by tapping on the green arrow. You’ll go back to the main screen, where the snow is falling, and your creation is standing behind a wall decorated with Christmas lights, ready for action.
Tap on the monster over and over to get several varied reactions, or move to the musical note in the bottom right-hand corner to reveal a different background, while music plays and your monster shows off some cool dance moves. Tap on the note again and again to switch those backgrounds, tunes, and moves until you’ve seen them all. I’m sure this will be a highlight for some parents when their kid goes tap-crazy. Thankfully there’s a volume button on all devices.
When you’ve exhausted the musical portion of the app, you can go to the center and tap on Elmo, who immediately joins the scene, interacting with your monster in a number of different ways.
Finally, you must tap on the camera to see Elmo taking pictures of your monster, which will be saved to your photo album once you allow the app access. Just like the other icons, tapping the camera multiple times will get you multiple results.
When I tried it
I have to say that I really liked using this app, and had the volume turned up full blast so my other office mates could enjoy it as much as I was. I went through most of the monsters, and tapped furiously away on eyes, hats and noses to create a cavalcade of characters that I would then send to the disco and Elmo the photographer.
I honestly couldn’t wait to show this to my nephews, and thought about sending my photo album to the Jim Henson Studios for consideration. After all, I was now a Master Monster Maker.
This is a great app for the money. It’s not complicated, it’s educational, it has enough variety to keep children (and adults) entertained for quite a while, and it has Muppets. It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights! It’s time to download Elmo’s Monster Maker tonight!
Great fun for children. Good price. Muppets.
Parents waiting their turn to play.
Elmo’s Monster Maker by Sesame Street
Seller: Sesame Workshop Apps
Devices: iOS and Android
Rating: E for Everyone