Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Blaze and The Monster Machines

Blaze and The Monster Machines

Spring 2016 Mobile Apps
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Developer: Nickelodeon
Download Price: $6.99
Platform: iPad

Blaze and the Monster Machines, an app created by Nickelodeon for children aged five and under, is an entertaining racing game that teaches and demonstrates basic scientific vocabulary and concepts. Children can race at fifteen progressively difficult levels in three locations: The Badlands, The Snowy Slopes, or The Monster Dome. During each race, players pick up special items (e.g., hubcaps) to help Blaze race while avoiding environmental pitfalls like ice patches and Crusher's contraptions such as the Pineapple Blaster.

At the beginning of each race, a new concept is introduced; for example, traction and friction are introduced in the Snowy Slopes when Blaze needs to put snow chains on his tires to prevent him from slipping. And, the concept of force is introduced when explaining how Blaze needs to move obstacles such as crates out of his way. Each concept is defined/explained and then applied in game play, reinforcing the concepts presented.

Children can also build and race on tracks of their own design. This gives them the opportunity to experiment with fifteen different tools (e.g., ramp, loops, etc.) and concepts. Unfortunately, players not only concentrate on giving Blaze a boost, but also on hindering the other racers as well (e.g., placing bubblegum on the tracks). That's not a learning track we approve.

Overall, the app has long-term play value as a result of the variety of activities and racing locations as well as its progressive difficulty. Additional racing locations are available for purchase ($1.99 each).

Sharon Heuscher   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

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Available on iTunes

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