Touchpress has always been synonymous with producing apps that are sheer perfection. The beauty of Molecules and Barefoot World Atlas has made them classroom standards as well as treasured reference material to explore at will for all ages. They have recently forayed into a subscription service for games that are intended for tweens and teens. They cover a broad spectrum of subject matter and are truly fun. Improving language and writing skills, science, and the ability to problem-solve are addressed through addictive gameplay. As kids play, they learn and directly apply new strategies on the fly. Today, I want to highlight a few of the language based apps and will present some of the other categories in subsequent posts.
For the record, I have always been leery of subscriptions as they have a way of getting out of control. Many times, I have paid for subscriptions and forgot about them and then later realized my cash flow has been dwindled because of the “easy automatic payments”. TouchPress handles their subscriptions differently. Here are the pros and cons:
- They are completely transparent as you can manage your subscription in-app in seconds and the ability to unsubscribe is always posted in every app you’ve downloaded.
- In addition, being a tween or teen means you can rip through games at a fast and furious rate, and keeping up with that pace and hunger for play and learning can be expensive. The price of the subscription is a bargain compared to shelling out money every other day for games they will only play through once.
- New games come out monthly, and if you have become attached to any specific game, there is an option to buy it outright.
- Nothing, nada, zip
Let’s look at a few of the language apps – They are most of all FUN, and a wonderful way to use language to learn to organize one’s thoughts as gameplay in all the TouchPress games are designed for players to think flexibly. Some of the answers to proceed in the games may work for the moment but going back and retooling answers to questions broaden the spectrum of how one processes information.
InkBlott Underground designed by Schell Games is one of my favorite all time games. In order to help Blott, our hero, save the Inkling’s kingdom, you must find pathways and collect morphemes (units of language) and combine them with prefixes and/or suffixes to make words. During play, you must dig your way to not only prefixes and suffixes, but also crystals within a certain amount of moves to successfully complete a mission. There are 30 missions, which are no easy feat. This game was one of the most awe-inspiring games I’ve played in a while. And it’s not like homework because it’s a game!!!
Word Runners is a blast! Game play centers on using words from a story and to solve problems or dilemmas. Stories are from a variety of topics – from world legends to science, so there is something for all. Need a bridge? Have your runner pick one up in the text and use it to cross a void. Again, play involves going back in the story to pick up an item that is needed toward the end of the page. This is Smart, Clever, and Tricky – the need to reread the passage to pick out salient cues. And what cracks me up…(shhh secret) – that the thought process behind it is to insure better retention! The levels are easier read than done as the need to keep trying new things can get challenging, but that is part of the fun. Learning new strategies or using things overlooked can give you different results. The stories are not too long and can be played in chunks over time to nail down strategies making them permanent tools for kids. Can you say Win-Win?
W.E.L.D.E.R. SWAP designed by My Evil Twin is one of those games you can’t put down. It is a Scrabble™ type game with a Steam Punk vibe. The trick is to spell words by using the letters provided. Swapping, jumping, eliminating or reversing letters are all earned. The more proficient you are, the chances to use tiles with an increased value up your score and earn bonuses. Beware though, some tiles can’t be moved because they are welded into place or too hot to touch, and moving them is an earned privilege. Each level has a mission, such as spell 3 words using 6 letters. By accomplishing that mission, you earn a star. A level is over by successfully spelling out a designated number of words. Progression isn’t dependent on accomplishing the challenge, but you feel all smart and snarky by accomplishing it.
TouchPress always delivers over the top games with educational content. They consult and use only the best in the industry. The All Access Pass is a perfect venue for the hard to please and fickle age ranges of tweens and teens. This package adds new material every month and always stays fresh. The subscription fee is less than you would be paying for quality games all year and is even fun for adults to play. We will present a peek at the other games in the TouchPress data base with upcoming reviews. Highly Recommended.
For more on School Age games and development read here