A Toddler’s Take is where 3-year old Emily plays an age-appropriate title and we share her unfiltered reactions and impressions.
Growing up, watching Sesame Street, my favorite was definitely Ernie! There was no furry 3 1/2 year old red Muppet name Elmo. Now it seems Elmo is THE main draw of the show for toddler set. Personally, I’d take an Odd Couple-like segment with Ernie and Bert over Elmo’s “La La La Las” any day, but not Emily.
When you start up Elmo’s Monster Maker, a static title screen appears and Elmo literally comes alive right before your eyes, moving and talking, welcoming you to the game and explaining what to do. Emily’s eyes light up and a huge smile spreads across her face everytime she sees this magical transformation and Elmo starts talking “to her”. Five different faceless monsters of different shapes, colors and sizes walk across the screen one after another, greeting the player, and you must tap on one to select it.
You are then presented with a closeup of the face and you tap where the eyes should be to select a pair of eyes, keep tapping to cycle through your options. The same goes for the nose and hat. There are 8 or 9 different selections for each adjustable feature of the monster. Each monster has its own nearly unique set of objects to choose from. Being a bit of a perfectionist (we call it her Monk-like tendencies), Emily was a little disappointed that she could not use the same exact hat on every monster.
While you are pretending to be a young Dr. Frankenstein, building your monster, your creation will laugh, talk and say funny things. Unfortunately this movement sometimes made it a bit difficult for Emily to select the different parts of the Monsters face. On numerous occasions, while trying to select a nose, Emily would accidentally bump the eyes, forcing us to cycle again through all the eyes to find the one she had before the accidental bump. An inconvenience, but over time Emily has gotten better with her aim and dexterity.
Once you’ve made your monster, there is a bit of a delay while it loads your creation, but then there are lots of fun things you can do with it, from watching it dance, to tapping it to interact with both it and Elmo, and you can even take a picture which is saved in the camera roll of your iDevice. These all play out through a series of very well produced video clips and had minimal delay between segments, even on a 2nd gen iPod Touch. It feels like you are watching and controlling an actual segment from Sesame Street! Emily particularly loved the dancing sequences which she repeated over and over and over again and flipping through the various dances like a DJ scratching a record.
Elmo’s Monster Maker was a hit with Emily, really engaging her imagination and creativity. It’s well-made with production quality video and sound making this app is a must for any child who loves Elmo (and there seems to be an unending supply of them). Good news for parents, if you get sick of hearing Elmo’s voice…unlike many other Elmo toys, at least this one has a mute button and the option of using headphones.