Kids become choreographers of an eight-person dance troupe in Toca Dance, the newest app from popular developer Toca Boca. With an easy-to-use interface, kids select up to three dancers, outfit them in costumes that range from superheroes to animals to food, teach them some moves, and then send them off to perform. The app creates a video of the performance for players to share.
How Kids Create Their Boogie
The dance creation part of the app occurs in a rehearsal studio. The dancers join the choreographer, a no-nonsense, animated character wearing workout clothes and blowing a whistle. The player controls the choreographer by moving the different parts of her body.
Using a finger, kids can wave the choreographer's arms up and down, and when they do, the dancers mimic as they learn the dance move. Next, kids may decide to move the choreographer's head, and again the dancers join in. They can also make choreographer jump up and move from side-to-side. By layering the arms, head, and body movements, players create a dance sequence. Players can switch up their dance moves by designing six possible movement sequences. The app then puts together the sequences to create a dance. As kids are choreographing, they can choose which of five songs will play during the dance.
The performance of the dance happens on a stage where the player controls the visuals. Kids can scroll between five backdrops; and add five special effects including pyrotechnics, bouncing balls, fog, confetti, and colored bubbles. They can also make the dancers taller or shorter as well as increase and decrease the size of their heads. Its wild!
While the performance is happening, players also control the audience, selecting from eight sound effects that range from raucous applause to boos to an elephant trumpeting. Also funny is the ability to throw things from the audience onto the stage, such as candy, flowers, or tomatoes.
Creative kids will have a blast with the Toca Dance app. From the look of the quirky characters -- some human and some not -- to the wacky costumes that vary from one-eyed monsters to pizza costumes, and much more, the app rocks a zany vibe. The five songs all have a strong beat and reflect inspiration from the J-pop, K-pop, and dubstep dance music. It is hilarious to make the heads of the dancers grow while they perform, and then magically shrink down.
Also well done is the ability to save your dance performance -- with all of your pyrotechnics and audience shenanigans -- to the device's photos as a video (parents who are worried about these movies eating up all of their memory can turn this option off from within the settings of the device).
The app does a brilliant job of turning the player's finger drawn movements into dance movements. Make the choreographer's head move in a nodding manner and watch your dancers do the same. The app brilliantly combines the moves created by the player into a dance sequence that looks good and moves to the beat. Kids can spend hours exploring how to make new dance moves.
As good as Toca Dance is, it is missing a key dance ingredient: the ability to control the dancer's feet. You can't create any footwork, other than having the dancers scuttle left and right and jump up. Missing is the ability to spin, tap, and do other fancy footwork. Is this a deal breaker? Heck no, Toca Dance is really fun. It's just not perfect.
All kids will enjoy exploring Toca Dance
, even those who have no sense of rhythm.BONUS CONTENT:
We created a video review of this app for those who want to see how it works: Click here for Toca Dance video review
.This kids' app review of Toca Dance 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.