Many children fear the shadows in their rooms when their parents turn off the light. DisMonster turns the process of dissecting strange-looking shadows into a fun mystery puzzle game. By taking apart the shadowy monsters, kids banish their own fears of the dark.
How to Play
There are three rooms to explore, and within each room kids can solve 24 puzzles. Each of the 72 shadow puzzles starts with a little boy walking into a dark room with his flashlight. The player sees a shadow monster, and then controls the shining of the flashlight around the room, looking for the objects that created the shadow. Kids solve the puzzle by dragging found objects to the shadow's outline. If they drag the correct object, it goes "Plop" and that part of the shadow magically transforms into the real object and then disappears out of the shadowy outline. By dragging and dropping a variety of objects, kids can take apart the monster and vanquish its threatening presence.
Each puzzle is timed to represent the battery power of your flashlight. For the harder puzzles, players can find extra battery charges hiding in the room. The harder puzzles also require that you open cupboards and move objects around to find the one you need.
DisMonster also offers kids a way to create their own shadow art by dragging objects into the light to create a shadow. The app saves your creation, but it doesn't become a playable puzzle.
Putting Kids in Control Eases the Fear
By putting kids in charge of vanquishing the shadow monsters, DisMonster cleverly shows kids that what they see when the lights go off isn't scary -- it is just the outline of stuff, such as a chair or a pile of toys they left on the floor.
DisMonster uses an atmospheric soundtrack to create a sense of mystery. It also adds motivation by awarding up to three stars for solving the match-the-objects-to-the-outline puzzles quickly. The extra battery charges are plentiful; but if your flashlight runs out of juice, you can always retry the puzzle with no penalty.
These visual puzzles are really well done; and the objects combined create shadows of things kids enjoy dismantling, including a mouse, a bat, a crab, and even a witch.
The only slight niggles are that this app only keeps track of one player, and that the lead character is always a boy. The create-your-own-shadow-monster mode is fun, but it would have been even better if kids could create their own shadow puzzles to challenge others to dissemble the shadow art that they created.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.