A week or so ago, I was contacted by Hullabalu, a company out of NYC, working to make great apps and tell awesome stories to little ones. It didn’t take a second thought for me to be on board and willing to give them my thoughts on their new app…
Available for purchase in the app store, Pan: The Fearless Beribolt is an iPad only app (sorry phone and Android users!) geared towards ages 5-10.
The format is simple:
Open the app, and Pan welcomes you. Tap the screen, and you are drawn into the Beribolt world. You meet Pan’s friends, help her navigate her surroundings, and go with her on her adventure. Tap on Pan or her friends and they have something to say. Tap the backgrounds and unlock the hidden surprises as you play.
Pan and her friends at home
Pan and her friends at Nightbug Falls
The background story (which you are told at the beginning of the app in a stunning video) tells us that Beribolts call the clouds home and travel as nomads. A “dark force” shows up on the scene and Pan’s parents, the greatest elders the Beribolts have ever known, leave her in the care of her grandfather and go off to defeat the evil. Ultimately, Pan realizes that she is not an orphan and heads off on her own to search for her parents. Book one ends with Pan heading off on an epic quest… leaving lots of room for adventures to come.
Pan practicing her boomerang toss
Pan and her friends in the market
The graphics are stunning, the score engaging, and Kate found the story bewitching. The navigation menu and arrows at the right and left of the screen make it easy for a child (or adult) to move from screen to screen, and the pop up menu from the bottom center opens a spot where you can read the story as it has happened so far. The menu bar on the far right opens up a slider where you can maneuver between scenes and play them over and over.
Pan and her Elders hanging out in cloud city and the page navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.
There’s also a built in photo booth where your child can take her picture with Pan!
Over all, I am in love with this app.
The only downsides, as I see them, are the quick play time (Kate played all through the story in 45 minutes the first time, and has been getting faster and faster as she plays it over and over), and the actual story content. I see that there is a lot to “do” but the story seemed choppy to me and lacking depth. On the other hand, I think that game play fills in a lot of what I felt was missing in the actual story. Kate also had a hard time pursuing the story in a linear way. The prompts weren’t strong enough on every page for her to find and follow. She’s also a bit sad that the game play didn’t last very long and now she has to wait several months for the next episode of the story to come out.
That said, I am excited to let you know that Hullabalu has offered an app to give away to one of my readers! I know that a lot of us aren’t huge on putting our kids in front of media, but if you have an iPad that you even occasionally let your youngster use, I urge you to leave a comment for a chance to win the giveaway. Kate asks daily to play with Pan, and as the story grows, I am hoping that it will develop depth. As for Hullabalu, I’m hooked… and I hope you will be too. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite app for your little one… I will draw a winner a week from today on Tuesday, June 18th via a random number generator and announce the winner here.
Disclaimer: I received no monetary gain from this review… I just felt like Hullabalu was a great company and decided to partner with them. They sent me an app, I played with it and showed it to Kate, and now I’m sharing it with you… Promise!
Also, the photos are my own screen shots.