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The Unstoppables app review

unstoppables menuThe Unstoppables app (Cerebral: The Swiss Foundation for Children with Cerebral Palsy, May 2015) introduces a diverse group of four young friends with complementary strengths:

Melissa, who is blind, can reach high objects with her cane.
Mai can jump over obstacles and crouch to go under them.
Achim, who is in a wheelchair, can travel quickly and can transport one other person. He can also read (the others cannot).
Jan moves a bit more slowly than his friends, but can lift and carry heavy objects (including, when necessary, Achim).

unstoppables

When Melissa’s guide dog Tofu is dognapped, the team sets out to rescue him. This quest takes the four from Melissa’s home through a school and a creepy abandoned cabin, with a red herring or two on the way. Use teamwork to problem-solve by switching among the four characters and accessing their individual skills. As you progress through the story, the problems increase in complexity/difficulty and fewer hints are given; you must rely on what you have learned so far to get through each location. (The final sequence, which requires you to re-route electricity through the cabin several times, is a doozy.)

unstoppables electricity

Humor, stylish visuals, and jazzy background music combine for a lighthearted heist movie–like tone throughout the app. It’s playable in French and German as well as English. The English translation stumbles a bit on occasion, and the big reveal of the dognapper’s identity and motivation is somewhat underwhelming. But the satisfying logic puzzles, positive portrayal of several disabilities, and message that teamwork overcomes obstacles make this an app worth sharing.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later); free. Recommended for intermediate users.

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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