The Nutcracker and the Mystery of the Disappearing Cheese is a brand new holiday app from developer Appy Pup and a top pick as an outstanding interactive app. This fully interactive app based on the traditional Nutcracker story, fully engages players from ages 3 to 10 in a wide variety of activities meant to educate and entertain. If you are looking to enjoy some holiday spirit with a new app - be sure to check this one out.
The Nutcracker and the Mystery of the Disappearing Cheese is an enormous app, absolutely full of learning activities for young players. The sheer depth and breadth is truly amazing. The app begins with a two minute, animated introduction to the basic story of the Nutcracker. Set with most of the action taking place as shadows, the animation is beautiful and very high quality. Readers are given the option to skip the introduction if they don't want to watch the video each time they use the app.
Within the Table of Contents, users can access the various pages of the app. There are seven Rooms in which users can manipulate the various characters of the story. From Clara and her family's rooms to the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, each room has its own activity and animations. Dress up four of the characters in interchangeable clothing, hats, accessories, even moustaches, decorate a tree, and play with tin soldiers in different rooms. Additional hidden interactions can be found in each setting as well.
After the Rooms, explore the five pages of the story. Set behind iced over glass windows, the reader must clear the ice to hear each page of the story continue. The graphics continue to be outstanding in each of the scenes. The realistic frost on the windows adds a nice winter touch to the story.
Additionally, there are seven Games available for readers to play. Start by helping a mouse find its way through various mazes. Move to a card matching game. Starting with just six cards and capital letters only, move to twelve cards matching capital letters to lower-case. Next, a cannonball counting game has players count cannonballs and find the corresponding number in the banners hanging over the battle field. A unique memory game follows the cannonball counting game. Given 2-4 items, players are given a few seconds to memorize where the items are before the doors close. Find each of the hidden items behind the closed doors. A patterning game that gets progressively harder and a holiday shape sorting activity are next. Last is a great tracing activity where players watch a chosen letter traced with a quill and ink. Follow a mouse's footsteps to trace your own version of each letter.
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This app is absolutely huge! The activities are completely open-ended leaving players with a sense of freedom to play this app as many times as they want. Each of the Rooms is in a free play style. So literally, users can do things any way they want to, as many times as they want to! (My son was fixated on the toy soldiers for quite a while.) The dress up components will certainly appeal to girls, but the mustaches, crowns, and hats will also appeal to boys. The story components round out a traditional story that I think might be getting lost on the younger generations. With the beautiful two minute animated movie introduction and the engaging pages of the Table of Contents, this old favorite has gotten a face-lift! The games included in this app are all educational and will make parents happy that their children are engaged in learning opportunities. I loved that there were different levels of each game, moving to progressively harder levels. The memory game was a unique aspect I've not seen in any other app. And the tracing game was one of the nicest I've seen. It does not allow users to scribble - they must follow the mouse's footsteps to create the correct letters. The games balance a nice set of skills from letters to numbers to memory builders.
Overall, this app is currently my favorite holiday app. I loved all of the educational components involved. I'm a little ashamed about how long I played the app after my son went to bed! The small details like the shadow characters in the animated movie, the beautiful soundtrack from Tchaikovsky's famous ballet, and the way each scene or activity seamlessly fits with the story make this a true top pick and one that I consider one of the best holiday apps I've seen this season.
The Nutcracker and the Mystery of the Disappearing Cheese is available via the iTunes App Store - iPad and iPad Mini Apps
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, a special education teacher, and a technology coach. She is a self proclaimed nerd with a passion for incorporating technology into education and you read her findings at The iLesson Lady
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.