Bottom line: Maya the Bee is having a birthday party and all of her insect friends are joining her. Children work through games to bring everything together â presents, guests and food. Kids enjoy lively narration, beautiful illustrations and smooth animations while learning about colors, numbers, matching and tracing. There is also a riveting music section where users enjoy trying a violin, guitar, horn and keyboard. Fessing up time: I played with the music a little more than necessary for a thorough review. The little insects are just so cute.
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When I opened this app to review, I was surprised to see the rich animation and attention to detail, because Maya the Bee is a title I had never heard about. After a quick web search, I found out that this character has a long and rich history. It was first published as a novel in Germany in 1912, and then as film, television and book incarnations before being brought to iOS by developer Mixtvision Digital GmbH & Co. KG. Who knew?
Maya was made for kids ages 3-6, and I think itâs a good fit. There are six games that progress in difficulty: matching pairs, music, finding hidden objects, tracing, shape matching and a game where users have to tap the matching color, number or size that Flip, the grasshopper is thinking about. Each game is clearly explained with narration and animated hand demonstration of moves. When users visit the games, tasks get just a little bit more involved, such as more matching pairs, more objects to seek and a subtle loss of directions, first with the disappearance of the movement animation and then with the narration. Completed tasks are rewarded with more guests, presents and decorations for Mayaâs party.
The app is beautiful to look at. Colors are lively, and with the sounds and animations added to the mix, this app becomes an immersive environment for having fun with a side of learning. Skills addressed in the app include numbers, color identification, shape matching and memory. The app has three main scenes where characters are presented incrementally, and they introduce the mini games. For instance, tapping on a little bee takes users to a section where they must put a fruit puzzle together. Choosing the grasshopper takes children to a mini-game where they are prompted to match an object given by the grasshopper with objects generated in bubbles. If things get too hard or the game has been completed, the app has an option for restarting and erasing progress.
Maya the Bee works well technically. The animations are smooth, scenes change quickly and all hot spots responded as expected. The only oddity found that might be a tad bothersome to sticklers for perfection (like reviewers) is the very beginning of the Flip mini game, where Maya tells users that Flip is mesmerized thinking about numbers â but then we are shown colors. NUmbers eventually show up in the game after a few successful visits and it may just be a nod to an audience that is familiar with the franchise.
From beginning to end, I found the app entertaining and engaging. I think kids in the 3-6 age range, for which the app is marketed, will find a lot to do while parents can feel good about the choice in purchase.
Writing about bees reminds Cynthia of spring, which she desperately wishes were here. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.