First off I should admit, we haven’t (yet) watched City Of Friends. It’s on Channel 5 on Milkshake at the early hour of 6.20, when we’d be fast asleep – so we have very little background on the programme this game is adapted from. However, having the opportunity to play this game we’re learning – and we do have it programmed into the V+ box now – and I’ve just read a second series has been commissioned.
The programme is based around three characters – Max the Police Officer (who is a monkey), Ted the Paramedic (who is a bear) and Elphie the Fire Officer (who is an elephant) – and this app is based on their various skills. Each game is made of three parts – one star (the easiest), two star (a bit harder) and three (the hardest) – once you’ve cleared all three levels you can earn one big star which unlocks some episode content on another page (which I quite like).
The individual games include :
•collect things in Max’s helicopter
•Ted’s first aid kit needs tidying
•Put out fires with Elphie’s trunk
•Emergency vehicle play
•The unlockable episode content
H was handed the iPad, and we selected a few games. At two and a half I thought they might be a bit advanced for her but actually, she picked them up immediately. The Elphie game was a hit (she actually got all three stars with minimal help from mummy), and she really liked matching pairs. The helicopter game was a bit more difficult so we’ll come back to that one in time, but I don’t see that as a huge problem – the age range for this is 2-6 years, so it’s something we’ll get a lot of play from (which is a very good thing). She also really enjoyed tidying up the first aid kit – the games really suit her age without her feeling too out of her depth.
As a music-loving mummy the biggest plus point for me was the music – I’m not sure if it’s the original Norwegian tunes, but it wasn’t in any way annoying and was really quite pleasant – plus there’s more than one tune in there, so it’s not the same few bars on repeat.
Having no background on the programme, it would have been nice to know a bit more – there’s credits, but no biogs (though there’s links to the official website and Facebook – though I’m not so sure about H clicking through to my Facebook page – I couldn’t find a way to disable it). Having lots of emergency vehicle toys and books has meant she was immediately interested – she just likes it without having any history (the graphics and colours are lovely and bright and appealing too). There’s no instructions how to play the games, although we picked them up quickly so that shouldn’t be a major issue.
To sum up, it’s a hit in our house, and now we’ve another new programme to learn about…! Would it help knowing about the programme first? Possibly – but on the plus side like a lot of tv programmes these days YouTube and the ITV Player is your friend, with many to catch up on. The game is so user-friendly, which is all that matters!
City Of Friends is available at iTunes for £1.49.
We were sent a code to try out the game.