Title is a Misnomer
Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles is a misnomer. Its title and app summary indicate that this is a coding app for kids ages 4 and up ("4+"). Four-year-olds will not be able to master this app if playing alone. The app requires that the player be able to read and the level progression gets hard very quickly.
What's Inside this Coding App?
The 42 puzzles housed in this app are divided into five subsets: Basics, Jumping, Overloading, Procedures, and Loops. Each puzzle takes place on a floating grid of 3D blocks. The goal of each puzzle it to program your robot (either a blue Boybot or a lavender-pink Girlbot) to traverse the blocks in such a manner as to land on the blue square tiles and then turn them on so they radiate a yellow glow.
In the nine Basics puzzles, players learn to arrange this set of visual coding blocks into a line to create a program. The block with an "up" arrow is for moving forward. The ones with arrows turning in half circles (to either the right or left) represent turning right or left. The lightbulb block tells the bot to press down on the tile to turn it on (making the block change from blue to yellow).
In the remaining subsets, kids learn to jump to go up and down different heights of blocks, use an elevator block, create sub-procedures, and eventually use programming loops.
An individual puzzle is completed when the bot lights up all of the blue tiles. Only then does the next puzzle in the subset become available. However, players can jump ahead to any of the subsets to explore a sequence of puzzles.
A good coding app for kids provides them with an intuitive programming language and then has them learn about how to use the language by presenting puzzles that slowly get harder.
Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles coding language isn't all that intuitive. When trying to make this robot move around on a grid, it can be hard for kids to understand that the "Up" arrow means the robot will walk one step in the direction it is facing. The idea that kids have to turn the robot based on the robot's right or left can get confusing.
Likewise, the level progression in Lightbot Jr isn't ideal, because it gets too hard too quickly. And there are no hints. When you are stuck, you are stuck.
Other annoyances include the inability to rotate the floating block platform so that you can see the bot when he is hiding on the other side, and an inefficient way to save progress. While Lightbot Jr shows completed puzzles in blue, it doesn't automatically take you back to where you left off.
Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles
isn't one of the best coding apps for kids, but it does present a good challenge for kids who relish tricky logic puzzles and are old enough to be able to be successful -- probably starting at age 7. Since there is no reward system, kids need to be motivated by the intellectual challenge.
For young children just learning how to code, start with The Foos
This Lightbot Jr 4+ Coding Puzzles 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.