Adorable Animated Balls Need You to Lead the Way
Thinkrolls offers a clever twist on traditional maze play. These brightly patterned mazes are turned on their side so that they are vertical. Players direct animated balls to roll down cliffs and off of platforms to tumble to the bottom where their friend is waiting. These mazes are filled with obstacles and points where the player will need to decide which direction to go next. The friend you are chasing periodically leaves colored rings to mark the correct path. The good-natured balls, which each resemble an animal or character, merrily roll and tumble down the pathways as they reveal emotions with their expressions and sounds.
Two Levels of Difficulty
Thinkrolls provides 180 puzzles, with 90 in the easy mode for kids ages 3-5, and 90 in the hard mode for ages 5-8. In each mode, kids play through seven chapters.
Each chapter introduces a new type of obstacle and teaches kids how to deal with that particular challenge. The type of obstacles presented includes: cookies (tap on it to eat it to make it disappear), crates (the player can slide them to move), balloons (buoyant obstacles that can be popped when directed towards a spike), rocks (a tool for the player to drop on cracked ground to break through), jelly blocks (a bouncy substance that can be used as a trampoline), fires (a hazard that needs ice blocks thrown at it), and elevators (which act as moving platforms).
A chapter is a series of puzzles, strung together with no break. But you know you have finished a puzzle when you roll through a rainbow-colored bubble. You can stop at that point by tapping the left-arrow button and your progress is saved.
What Makes This App Good?
These silly round creatures are so much fun to play with as they roll, trundle, bounce, munch cookies, and push things. They have cute personalities, which they express through the sounds that they make (as they giggle, gurgle, and chortle along) and by their facial expressions. It's hilarious to watch their eyes turn into rotating spirals when they fall a long distance. And it's hard not to join in the giggling when they bounce on a jelly block and turn wide-eyed and start chirping. Plus they are diverse, as their skins tones vary greatly.
Better yet is the clever introduction of logical thinking in this maze setting. As kids learn to manipulate the environment so that the ball can continue down its journey, the app slowly introduces new concepts via the chapters. It also layers on concepts previously learned.
Each puzzle has its own easily accessible "undo" button. The ability to restart with no negative consequences provides kids with the freedom to experiment -- such as when faced with a cookie, a balloon, and a crate, which do you move first? These puzzles encourage kids to study the environment, plan ahead, experiment, and think outside of the box to solve tricky environmental puzzles. While challenging and increasingly harder, the puzzles never make kids feel they can't be solved -- which means the developers got the progression just right.
We also like how, at the end of each chapter, a new, inviting ball character unlocks. While the puzzles are fascinating to explore by themselves, unlocking a cute roly-poly cat-ball or ninja-ball is just an added reason to keep playing.
Thinkrolls is a great addition to any child's library of apps. Children will love directing these lively balls, and parents will appreciate that the game is teaching their kids to be creative and logical thinkers.
This Thinkrolls app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.