Review: Hansel and Gretel – Epic Tales Animated Storybook

Rating: 4/5

Posted in iOS, Reviews on 25/08/2012 by Chris Hauk

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It’s always handy to have something to help the kiddos settle in for a good nights sleep. But, kids today demand something more than boring old Dad reading them a bedtime story in a boring monotone, they need animation, they need sounds, they need production values!

As an answer to the bedtime story needs of today’s modern child, Epic Tales brings us Hansel and Gretel, the first in what they promise will be a series of animated storybooks for iOS devices.

Overview

Hansel and Gretel is the retelling of the classic fairytale of the two children whose evil stepmother takes them out into the forest and abandons them. While trying to find their way home, the children stumble upon the house made of Gingerbread and candy where a seemingly kind old lady lives.

After eating their fill of the various sweet to eat building products and masonry, Hansel and Gretel are captured by the old lady who turn out to be a witch and wants to fatten the children up to eat them. I won’t ruin the story for those of you who don’t know the ending.

The story opens with an introduction to the story telling dwarf, Silvertongue. Hopefully your children will enjoy Silvertongue’s voice, because his voice is the only one they’ll hear through the entire story. The voice actor who played the role of Silvertongue seems to be talented enough, with a pleasant ability to “do voices” for the different characters in the story. The overall effect is one of a kindly Grandparent reading a bedtime story to their Grandchildren, and indulging them by doing the voices for the various characters in the book.

The animation in the storybook is simple, yet engaging. The animation is well done, and plays nicely along side the narration, and adds a Saturday morning feel to the book. The real fun begins after the narration ends for a chapter, then the reader can touch the screen to interact with the characters and the environment. By touching various things on screen, entertaining animations occur and sounds play.

The child can choose to have the books read to them, read the book themselves, by way of scrolling text on each page, or they can choose to “play around” which allows them to simply explore the interactive portions of the book without actually reading or listening to the story. Any of the three options should bring excellent bedtime entertainment to young readers.

The app is rated 9+ for “Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes” and “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence” but I didn’t see anything in the story that would keep today’s child up all night.

Verdict

Hansel and Gretel is an entertaining first effort from Epic Tales. I would highly recommend it to anyone who want to give their child an entertaining bedtime story, but not one that will get them too cranked up, or scare them into staying up all night.

The animation, music, and narration are entertaining and well done, with excellent production values.

Hansel and Gretel is a Universal App and runs on both the iPhone and the iPad.

Price: $4.99 – Available now in the App Store. (Direct Link)

Rating: 4/5[rating:4]

Pros:

  • Excellent animation, sound, and narration
  • The interactive elements are engaging and entertaining
  • The narrator had just the right touch, and added a bit of humor to the story.
  • The ability to be able to go to any chapter, and simply play with the interactive elements is a great feature.

Cons:

  • The pause between pages to allow for loading could irritate some children.
  • Some of the interactivity seems forced, and added simply to have something, anything happen when the child touches the screen.


Author

Chris Hauk

MacTrast Senior Editor, and self-described "magnificent bastard," Chris Hauk owns Phoenix Rising Services and writes for everyone's favorite "bad movie" website, Big Bad Drive-In.

His first Apple product was an iPod Classic 9 years ago, and he has since added a MacBook Pro, a number of iPads, iPhones, and multiple Apple TVs to his collection.

He lives somewhere in the deep Southern part of America. Yes, he has to pump in both sunshine and the Internet.