Review: Woolly and Tig iPad app

Disclosure: I was financially compensated in order to purchase this app for it to be reviewed, as well as getting a few Woolly and Tig goodies. However, as per my PR info disclaimer, this review is my unbiased honest opinion of the product.

Product: Woolly and Tig iPad app

Price: £2.99 (at the time of publishing this, it is currently £1.49 with 50% off)

Age Range: 3-6 years

Manufacturer’s Description: THE FIRST OFFICIAL APP FROM THE HIT CBEEBIES SHOW WOOLLY AND TIG IS HERE!

Now Children can have their very own interactive ‘Woolly’.

Woolly is a young child’s loving friend who is there to help, entertain and involve them in hours of fun, games, laughter and learning. Woolly will respond directly to a child’s touch and speak to them. Tickle him and he’ll laugh, hug him and he’ll love them back, stroke him and he’ll sleep, Woolly makes everyday activities fun. Getting Woolly dressed, cleaning Woolly’s teeth or washing Woolly’s face is fun for children too.

Rating:   (2/5 stars)

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Dress up Woolly (iPad app screenshot)

Review: Georgie really enjoys the Woolly and Tig tv show on Cbeebies, so when they contacted me to let me know that an iPad was being launched, I was looking forward to checking it out. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have quite the same level of appeal as the tv show. The main idea of the app is to entertain children, while making every day activities seem more fun.

There are six different guided activities in the menu; getting dressed, brush my teeth, wash my face, fun in the rain, fun in the sun, and fun in the snow. Most of these have several different stages, although getting dressed just consists of you putting socks onto six of Woolly’s feet, by tapping on a sock, then tapping on a foot. Georgie got frustrated with this as she thought it made more sense to drag the socks onto his feet!

Her favourite of the six activities is “Fun in the Sun,” where you pinch a suncream tube to apply it, then rub it in, choose a sunhat for Woolly, and choose him some sunglasses. In this activity, you do drag the hat and the glasses onto the spider, so it is a shame that they aren’t more consistent with their gestures.

For each of these activities you get the full explanation for each stage every time you play it, even when they’ve done it lots before, or just did it a minute ago. This can be frustrating, as you have to wait until Woolly has finished talking before starting to play, and it is quite repetitive too.

Free play mode includes tickling him, cuddling him, counting with him (Woolly counts with his legs then you tap him to make him jump ten times), stroking Woolly to sleep, and rolling him over. You can’t just do what you want though, and have Woolly respond to you – instead he says things like “I’d love a wee snooze, stroke my head and I’ll sleep,” and you have to do what he says. It’s quite annoying for Georgie that Woolly is only ticklish when he says he is, as that seemed to be the only bit of free play mode she enjoyed – and you can’t tickle him unless he wants to be tickled.

If you don’t stroke his head, or do whatever else he wants, he just says it over and over and over again, which is quite irritating, especially if your child just doesn’t want to do that, or is finding it too hard.

When Woolly introduces each activity, there is an animation talking about it, and you have to wait until he has stopped talking to do it – part of the problem we had was Georgie tried to do whatever he was asking before he’d finished, and then getting frustrated that it wasn’t working. The counting activity is especially annoying for this, as Woolly tells you to tap on him to make him jump, then counts to ten using his legs (he counts the front two twice!) slowly before you can begin tapping.

In some cases the gestures required can be a little difficult to manage, or at least the app doesn’t seem to recognise what you’re doing; I stroked his head a LOT – presumably just not the right way! I think it would be better if Woolly moved onto something else after a short amount of time, especially if you stop interacting with him.

The character Woolly is no doubt the best part about this app, and is true to his character on the television show. The animations are sweet, although they can be jerky at times. We had a few problems with the app crashing once or twice, especially when it was running on the iPad mini.

This app is a really quite large download, due to the high number of animations in the game, I would guess. In fact, it is currently the largest app on my iPad, taking up a whopping 658.6 MB. Only 900 KB of this is “documents & data” (i.e. the save game file), so you are going to have to sacrifice a fair bit of space if you want this installed. In comparison, most of Georgie’s favourite iPad apps weigh in at the 60 – 150 MB apps, and the more animated ones are around 200 MB. The iTunes Store page for the app says it is 415 MB so I’m not sure where the extra 200 MB is coming from.

The app is “Universal” which means that you just buy it once, and you can have it installed on your iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad devices.

You can set reminders for your children in the app, using the “scheduler” in the parents section. This allows you to specify a day and time for each activity, so that at that time the iPad receives a push notification to remind your child to do something. To be honest, I don’t think this has been handled very well at all. Even if your child did have the iPad on them at the right time (unlikely if it is a parents’ iPad that they are playing with, as is most common), then a small push notification isn’t really going to do much. When I tried to tap on the push notification, the app launched but it didn’t go straight into the correct activity.

If you are in the app when the scheduled time goes by, it doesn’t seem to remind you at all – or at least we couldn’t get this to work if it is supposed to! We also had problems with the time and date of the scheduler not saving properly – I would schedule something to happen at a particular time on a Monday, then save it and check it, only for it to be saying Wednesday.

Not only that, but you can only set it to remind you for one time on one day – activities like brushing your teeth should really be at least twice a day for children of the age this is aimed at… but you can’t even get it to do a daily reminder! I don’t think Georgie would really benefit much from being reminded to “have fun in the sun/snow/rain,” she certainly doesn’t need an iPad app to remind her to get dressed, as we do it every day straight after breakfast, and so I can only see this reminders feature being useful for brushing teeth and washing your face.

Since getting the app, Georgie hasn’t really wanted to play it much. If you load it up for her, she will sometimes choose a few activities to play before quitting the app and moving onto a different game that she enjoys more. The free play mode where you interact with Woolly on his own, she never really plays with at all. Unfortunately this app doesn’t really hold her attention, and when given the choice of apps, she just doesn’t tap on Woolly.

The music in the app has been taken from the show, and while the Woolly & Tig theme tune is quite sweet at the end of each episode, it gets really quite irritating if you’re hearing it over and over again. Unfortunately there is no option to turn the music off, and you need to have the sound on in order to hear Woolly’s instructions. A simple music off toggle option in the parent’s section would be a lifesaver in this instance!

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Georgie, who will be three in May, breezes through this app easily, following all the instructions and managing all the gestures with ease – it holds no real challenge for her despite her being below the recommended age group of 3-6. The only times she has problems is when the gestures required don’t seem to register properly, which seems to happen fairly often, or when they aren’t as consistent – like the different gestures for putting clothing on him in different activities.

I would say that if you had a really big fan of the show on your hands, to try this one out. If your child has no idea who Woolly is, I don’t think they’re going to get a lot out of it. The first one or two times Georgie did each activity she enjoyed it, but after that she rapidly lost interest. To be honest, Georgie has had more fun with the pull-back racing Woolly that they sent us!

We give this iPad app just 2 stars. The character of Woolly, the cute and cuddly spider, is its only saving grace. I can’t help wishing that it was just done better, as it is a good concept executed poorly. I think if I had bought this I would have been quite disappointed, and it would have been (and will be now the review is completed) deleted from my iPad – it’s just not worth the space it takes up.