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Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure app review

roxie's puzzle adventure menuRoxie Munro was a featured artist in KidLit TV’s premiere StoryMakers episode earlier this week — and with good reason. Not only has she written and illustrated more than thirty children’s books (including Hatch!, Busy Builders, and Mazeways), she’s also created a series of “Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books” with affiliated apps and three stand-alone apps. We’ve previously reviewed two of these stand-alone apps, Roxie’s A-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure and Roxie’s Doors; here I take a look at Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure (OCG Studios, September 2013).

Puzzle returns users to the lavishly detailed, frequently whimsical world of A-MAZE-ing Vacation. After creating a profile (the app saves up to five individual players’ games), you enter a main screen showing the entire intricate landscape, shrouded in mist. Intriguing details such as the top of a roller coaster, a ski lift, and a hot-air balloon peek out. As you make your way through the sixteen interconnected puzzles, solving one and unlocking the next, the mist clears to show your progress.

roxie's puzzle adventure screen

Before beginning each puzzle, a sliding scale allows you to select how many pieces you’d like to brave, from six pieces up to 130 on the iPhone or 260 on the iPad. Revisit any puzzle at any time to attempt a different difficulty level. Another choose-your-own-challenge option: decide whether you’d like the pieces to automatically orient in the correct direction when you select them, or be scattered every which way. If you’re a puzzle purist (a.k.a. masochist) who selects the latter option, simply tap a piece to rotate it a quarter turn.

The image you’ll be re-creating is briefly shown, then the pieces scatter — you work on a mat at the center of the screen, with a wood-plank-style background where you can sort your pieces for later. Pinch two fingers together or spread them apart to zoom out and in, increasing or decreasing your work space. The pieces snap into their correct places with a satisfying click; you can also fit together several pieces and then move them as a unit. Once completed, the jigsaw lines disappear from the scene, allowing you to pore over its details: hidden numbers and letters, various modes of transportation, animals (including a sea monster), and other humorous surprises (a grand piano–shaped building).

roxie's puzzle adventure screen 2

An icon on the left side of each puzzle screen accesses options to re-center the puzzle on the screen, receive a hint (viewing only edge pieces or seeing the full image), turn the cheery music on/off, and return to the full map.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.1 or later); $1.99. Recommended for primary users and up.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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