Book App Filled with Movie Graphics
Weirdwood Manor is a fantasy story told across six books that can be downloaded from within this app. By purchasing the app, you get the first two books, which provides about 2 hours of reading. The other four books can be unlocked by purchasing from within the app (in-app purchase). Each book costs $2.99 or you can save money by unlocking them all for $8.99.
Kids can enjoy listening to a talented narrator read the books aloud as words highlight, or they can do the reading themselves. Weirdwood combines three things kids love: an intriguing, spooky story; captivating, interactive puzzles; and movie-style animations. With a nod to Harry Potter, Weirdwood Manor stars an orphaned child with an unusual and undisciplined, magical ability -- he can draw creatures into existence!
A Living Novel
Readers join orphan Oliver in a carriage ride on his way to Weirdwood Manor. The trip is a prize that Oliver won by submitting drawings in a contest. As you watch Oliver bump along, you realize that there are magical beings flitting around. Tapping on one such fleeting sparkle reveals a fairylike creature known as a Findling. The Findling acts as your guide to finding the other magical oddities within the pages of these books. Some of the curiosities take the form of other hidden creatures; others are puzzles that reveal their secrets when solved; and some are artifacts to collect. Everything you find ends up in your journal. Because each scene is so responsive, the app claims it to be a "Living Novel."
In the second of the five books, Oliver arrives at Weirdwood Manor to find two other children who have also won the contest. Eugene won for making marvelous inventions, and Celia for her ability to use words. The three meet the famous Arthur Weirdwood and he takes the children on a tour of part of his 777-room mansion, filled with secret passageways and other magical things, including photos that change when candlelight is shown on them. Why are the children at Weirdwood Manor and what is the magic that seems to be wafting in and out around them?
Right from the get-go, Weirdwood Manor sucks you into a world where magic is hiding in plain sight. By presenting a deeply-layered story about three children who are different, it embraces uniqueness. And by inviting readers to join in the story with interactive elements and puzzles, the app encourages kids to become invested in both the characters and their journey of magical awakening.
This is a highly imaginative world, filled with ghosts that talk to you, art that comes alive, and machines that can take pictures of your thoughts! Each magical creature that you discover has a backstory for you to read in your digital journal. At the end of each book, you discover how many of the hidden secrets and challenges you have found. It is possible to read the story without finding all of the secrets; so the score at the end serves as great motivation to reread the book.
The puzzles found nestled within the pages are clever and varied. Players rearrange geometrical shapes so that none are touching, help Oliver draw a dragon by following the dots, and rearrange gargoyles and runes to solve puzzles.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this book app is its graphics. The attention to detail is astounding, especially in scenes where you can hit a button to allow you to explore it in 360 degrees. And many of the scenes introduce movie quality animation that is mesmerizing -- you feel as if you are in the scene with the characters. In addition, the app gives the reader the ability to use the Findling to see where magical items are hidden. Whenever the fairy-like Findling flutters in the top left corner of the page, kids can touch him to have him cover the scene with a gossamer-like film that swirls in places that merit more investigation.
Weirdwood Manor is an intriguing story filled with magnificent animation and illustrations that entreat kids to explore further. In addition to reading the story, the app also offers a separate magical journal that kids will want to reread many times. By having players help Oliver uncover a whole new magical world, they too experience the wonder and excitement of this bizarre and fascinating manor.
If your kids are "Harry Potter" and "The Golden Compass" fans, they are going to love this app! Filled with fantasy creatures, a robotic butler, creative gadgets, magic, and mysteries, kids won't want to put this book app down.
This Weirdwood Manor 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.