Sooner or later, most parents get the question, “Can I have a pet?” If it isn’t possible to get a real pet, you might suggest a “virtual pet.” Monki Animal Builder allows children (ages 4 and up) to put together combinations of eyes, ears, mouths, legs, arms, and even snouts any way they wish. The results are comical and unique, especially when they come alive through animation.
Monki Animal Builder was developed by Monkimun for IOS devices, including the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the iPad and Android Devices. The fun starts with a choice between six colorful eggs that are ready to hatch. Your child chooses one and cracks it open. Out pops a body shape- maybe a chubby, fuzzy body, or one that looks like an insect. Once chosen, it is possible to change its color or add spots, stars, or hearts.
Have a look:
After the selection of basic body shape and appearance are completed, the app is set up like a conveyor belt. There are decorated boxes that roll across the bottom of the screen. Each box contains a collection of body parts or accessories. There are no limits on the number or kinds of add-ons: three arms?- no problem; tentacles?- got some; how about a hat or a scuba mask?- it’s in there.
When the virtual pet is finished, the child simply touches the camera button in the upper right hand corner. The saved picture then appears in the gallery, which can be accessed on the Home page. It can also be shared (anonymously) with other users of Monki Animal Builder, if you choose.
The user interface consists of touch and swipe controls, which are easy for a child to manipulate. There are no written or oral directions, making it easier for non-readers to play. Occasional help from a grown up will insure that all the parts get added and that the creature gets saved.
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I am impressed by how different the collection of “animals” looks. Some look sweet, some are goofy, but they are all absolutely one-of–a-kind. Overall, Monki Animal Builder meets expectations for graphic design and user interface. I also like the clear sequence to adding the different parts. There could have been a little scenery added to liven up the page background and the animations could have been more varied. Still, Monki Animal Builder delivers what it promises- it offers children a way to express themselves in a very open-ended, creative manner. If your child enjoys imaginative play, you should consider Monki Animal Builder.
At the time of this review, Monki Animal Builder contains no ads, nor are there any in app purchases (IAP). There is one external link to the developer’s website, accessible via a protected parent portal.
Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.