Platform puzzling and game designing pair up in Adventure Time Game Wizard, a fun app based on the Adventure Time TV show on Cartoon Network. Human boy Finn and talking dog Jake stumble upon a magical book and pencil that allow them to draw sketchy versions of themselves into game levels. The two quickly discover that this game-designing isn't all fun and games when a wacky Doodle Wizard arrives to wreak havoc.
3 Options of Play
Kids have three play options: "Play" the platform puzzles levels created by Finn and Jake, "Create" their own platforming puzzles, and "Arcade" where you play levels created by other players who have shared their designs.
How to Design Your Own Platform Puzzle Game Levels
From the "Create" option on the main menu, kids learn to make their own Adventure Time
games with voiced tutorials. By working on virtual graph paper from within the app or using real graph paper downloaded at www.atgamewiz.com
, kids learn to use the Wizard's glyphs (special symbols that translate into game creation pieces). The glyphs divide into categories of collectibles, hazards, special blocks, and goals.
If doing the designing within the app, kids start by drawing the game's layout on the virtual graph paper, using rectangles to add platforms on which characters can jump. Next, creators can play the game to see if they like how they placed the platforms. After the structure is in place, kids add things like coins to collect, hazards (spikes, lava, etc.), special blocks (trampolines, ladders, etc), and starting and ending points. The tools also have a special Design Mode where kids choose the look of the game, add baddies, and select a hero to be the game's star.
For kids working away from the app, the download kit comes with graph paper and detailed instructions to teach kids how to draw symbols on their grid paper to represent each of the glyphs. For example, to add coins above the rectangular platforms, kids simply place the plus sign inside of a grid square. When your budding game-designer is satisfied with the drawn game level, the player uses the camera function to scan it into the app.
Why This App is Special
The pre-made puzzle levels designed by Finn and Jake feature the voice talent from the show and are fun, standard platforming fare. Players jump, double-jump, climb, collect items, whack baddies, and avoid obstacles in their quest to reach the level's exit. If this was all there was to the app, it would be good but not great.
But Adventure Time Game Wizard moves from good to great by providing kids with easy tools to design their own game levels. The process of creation is easy and understandable. At any time in the creation process, kids can leave the design mode in order to jump in and play the level they are designing. This allows them to experience the game as a player, and then tweak design elements after trying them. We found that while the scanning of the graph paper worked, sometimes details were missing. However, you could then tweak your scanned design from inside the app.
Kids can share their levels in the Arcade, and learn from others by downloading other user-created levels. When sending a game to the Arcade, players must create a player profile (no real names are used), password, and then submit their email. The app states that the email "is not stored in a retrievable form," but it can be used to retrieve a forgotten password. We wouldn't recommend letting any player under age 13 submit game designs without parental supervision.
Cautionary Warning: This game connects to Game Center and is set up to allow players to communicate with strangers. By using the Game Center Leaderboards feature, kids can send "New Friend" requests to anyone listed on that board. Likewise, they can "Share" their Achievements via social media. To keep kids safe, parents need to police whether your child's device is connected to the Game Center.
Adventure Time Game Wizard
is an exciting game for kids who enjoy playing platform puzzlers. It is also a good fit for kids joining the "Maker Movement." If your children are into Legos and/or coding, they will love this game. Bonus Tip
: If your kids are into being "makers," click here for a list of other exciting apps where kids create content.This Adventure Time Game Wizard - Draw Your Own Adventure Time Games 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.