A single image (such as a face, animal, or vehicle) appears on a white background with the message “Shake to play!” Shaking your device breaks the picture into components that float around the screen. You must recreate the image by repositioning its various pieces within one minute; users are rewarded one point for every second remaining on the clock when the picture is complete.
I had better luck tilting the iPad around until pieces stuck in place rather than dragging them into position as instructed; for those of you who do follow the rules, pressing “hint” reminds you of the original image, but costs five seconds on the timer.
The puzzles are organized into sets by theme or illustration style; solving two puzzles in a set unlocks the next. The artwork is, in classic Emberley fashion, accessible and ingeniously simple, but increases slightly in complexity as you make your way through the sets.
Funk-band-meets-arcade-game background music, well-chosen sound effects, and a top score list add to the fun. The menu allows users to turn on or off several of the app’s features, including sound effects, music, timer, and — thank god — the dizzying “twirly” option, which spins pieces around and around with a whirling sound when they’re placed in the correct position.
While Shake & Make!, like Night & Day’s educational apps Peekaboo Forest and My First App, is based upon the recognizable work of a well-known artist, this time they’ve opted to emphasize entertainment over education. That said, the app does offer a nice introduction to Emberley’s style while prompting users to consider how he constructs his expressive and deceptively simple illustrations with basic shapes.
Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 4.3 or later); $1.99. Recommended for preschool and primary users.