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Cars in sandbox: Construction review (iOS / Universal)

April 14, 2012

“And that’s why they call me … Bulldozer”

My 4-year old son helped me review this game, for which I am very grateful as always

10 word description: Interactive construction site vehicle app for young children. Eight vehicles.

Teddy in dump truck - a source of much amusement

10 word review: Colourful and easy to use. Needs more tasks to perform.

You will like this if you enjoy: (As a young child) – playing around with touch controlled heavy machinery. (As a parent) – Annoying your son by taking over because the game looks like fun.

The good news: Very clear and attractive graphics. It’s fairly easy to use, although there’s no tutorial (that I could find). The sounds and interactive elements of the vehicles are very nice. Carrying a gigantic teddy bear in the back of a dump truck is highly amusing, particularly if you’re a 4-year old boy.

Decapitating an elephant with a crane... Oh, the horror! (This is a joke)

The bad news: It’s possible on several of the vehicles to accidentally get the task into a state where it can’t be completed, for example by pushing a block up against the end of the zone, or dropping an item somewhere that it can’t be retrieved. For a children’s app/game, this kind of frustration inducer should be thoroughly prevented! Although each vehicle has a task to complete, there is only the one task per vehicle and the tasks are very similar.

Bob the Builder returns from yet another successful lunar mission

Arcadelife verdict: Although my son wanted to complete every vehicle’s task in one sitting, which certainly meant he enjoyed the app, he also wanted a bit more of a challenge and more things to do with each vehicle. This is definitely an area of this app that could be expanded, with maybe tasks of different difficulty/age levels for each vehicle? The controls for some of the vehicles are a bit fiddly, but that’s more to do with the touch screen than this particular game’s control method. A tutorial would be nice, although experimentation and common sense do go a long way on their own.

For a sandbox game (it’s right there in the title) this app lacks a sandbox feel, with only a single task available for each vehicle and no real scope for messing about and causing construction site chaos, which is something most young boys (and their dads) would love to be able to do.

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 8.5/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 7/10
Content – 6/10
Fun – 6/10
Final rating – 70/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.3.1
iTunes link

Thematica / Cars in sandbox website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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