Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Game of Life - zAPPed! (Review)

Family board games were always a hit growing up, and we continue to bring the old standards out to play with our kids today. There is a lot to be said for some competitive bonding time around the kitchen table, with dice, and play money, and strategy. It's a change from our plugged in, wired world. But, what if you want the best of both worlds? Traditional games for you, and an electronic twist to catch the attention of your plugged-in kids?

Hasbro to the rescue!

Hasbro has just come out with a new, modernised take on the classic Game of Life. It does require an iPad to play, but as these and other tablets become more common in our homes, I suspect these types of partnerships will only grow.

Little Boo and I tried out the Game of Life zAPPed! this afternoon. First I visited the iTunes store to download the free Game of Life zAPPed app. Once that was loaded, we placed the iPad in the centre of the game board and got started. The game play is very straightforward and you are prompted through every step by the iPad.  We really had a good time, and as soon as we finished our game, Little Boo asked if we could play another, this time with Hubs and the Teen. They were game, and I am happy to report that this appealed to all ages. Even the sullen Teen gave it a thumbs up and  said he'd like to play again.

The app provides the spinner, which you turn with a flick of your finger. And certain squares give you a video on the iPad, from America's Funniest Home Videos. These videos are illustrative of life events occurring in the game, and provide some extra entertainment. I found some were funnier than others, but the boys seemed to enjoy most of them. You also get to customize your peg person with your choice of hair and accessories.

Of course the Game of Life sees the players progressing though stages of life as they travel around the board, including marriage and parenthood. When it is time to marry, the app will prompt the player to choose their mate - male or female.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that this is an open-minded game, and same sex unions are allowed. This is my Vegas wedding shot.

One thing that I would like to see added to this game is the ability to "go back" or cancel an action in the app. There were a couple of points where I accidentally touched the wrong icon on the iPad and triggered an incorrect action (like having a baby when I was supposed to be playing a roulette game). I knew immediately I'd touched the wrong one, but there was no way I could un-do my action and get to the correct one for the space on which I'd landed.

The Game of Life provides opportunities to teach about life events and decision-making, like, if you go to college you'll get a higher-paying job afterwards, but you'll start out with loans. That was eye-opening for my little guy. And of course, there's opportunities to work on math skills while dealing with the money in the game.

Our diverse families. Parents in the front seats, and kiddies in the back
(other than with our childless couple).
Pink for the girls and blue for the boys.
We found this game to be a great combination of the traditional and the digital. It appealed to everyone, from the six-year old up to Daddy-o.

Recommended for ages 8 and up, and for 2-4 players, the Game of Life zAPPed is compatible with both iPad and iPad2, and retails for $29.99 Cdn. And it comes recommended by us :)

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this game for my family to test out. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

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