Pajanimals: Light in the Sky is a fun interactive app based on the beloved Jim Henson show The Pajanimals.
I know the Pajanimals well as this show is is very much enjoyed by my son. There was even a point in time that he needed to watch the Pajanimals to be distracted enough to let me brush his teeth.
Because of this, I was eager to review this new Pajanimals app, now containing computer-generated graphics as well as including the original songs and character voices from the television show.
The Pajanimals are a darling group of anthropomorphic animals, each with its own distinctive personality and often seen getting ready for sleep. Here the gang helps a duck, Squacky, deal with his fear of the dark as he contemplates bedtime.
Children will enjoy interacting with these familiar characters, and I happy to report that this app contains some nice prompts showing children where to tap, as well a button to hear narration which explains how best to explore the included interactive activities. The narration is very pleasing to listen to, as are the songs and voiceovers from the show that my son and I really enjoy.
This app consists of both interactive story segments as well as activities children can enjoy alongside with the Pajanimals such as kicking the soccer ball or playing hide-and-go seek.
I also really like how this app is broken up into story and activity chapters easily accessible to children, allowing them to choose their favorite moments within.
The Pajanimals has always been great for children’s social intelligence as well as relaxing before going to sleep. Although I found some of the moments early on rather stimulating for children, this app ends on a calming note that will help children feel relaxed before bedtime.
I must admit that I feel rather self-conscious being in any way critical of an app based on a Jim Henson production as I have had nothing but warm feelings for all things Henson as long as I can remember.
Having said this, I am not a huge fan of the look of the included 3D graphics – highly computer-generated and although not fuzzy or pixilated, containing a low enough resolution that the characters are devoid of any smooth, rounded edges.
For a lack of a better word, facets are used to make polygons instead of a rounded sphere, creating a look that is for me, old-school and distracting. I also find that the 3D effect is overboard, affecting the proportions of these characters, making their muzzle or beak look too large in relation to their bodies, as does everything within the foreground of this app.
I make note of this because the Pajanimals, being a creation of Jim Henson, were Muppets and the show was shot live action, an aspect that I have thoroughly enjoyed not only in the Pajanimals, but during my own childhood watching Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, as these characters were real, tangible creatures – easy to empathize with and relate to.
I was looking forward to interacting with these Muppet characters, and maybe as a fan, my expectations were too high.
I understand the desire to include interactions within this Pajanimals app, but I can’t help but be disappointed with the use of CGI, as I would have preferred to see hand-drawn animation or a finer resolution computer animation, as the graphics, to me, become a showcase for a particular style that, in my opinion does not fit with the classic, iconic energy of Muppet characters – especially in these days where much less aggressively digital animation is possible.
I am, however, aware that the look of this app is a specific style that although not my taste, is well-realized for the app that the developer was looking to create.
The interactions for the most part work smoothly, but I would have liked to see more hot spots within the songs where one taps in turn to the music. As of now, they are spaced so far apart from one another within the song that is no rhythm to keep for children, and I also found that helping these animals brush their teeth was difficult to articulate.
Even with these notes, I do think both fans of the Pajanimals as well as other children will enjoy this application. The songs are as lovely as they ever were, and adults will appreciate these tender friendships – great for socialization.
This may not be the app I was hoping for in terms of style, but my issues are adult concern that will not affect children’s ability to enjoy this app.
Pajanimals: Light In The Sky
Developer: N-Fusion Interactive
Released: 2012-09-06 00:00:00
Description from the DeveloperFeatured in Apple's "New and Noteworthy"!
Meet the Pajanimals - CowBella, Apollo, Sweetpea Sue, and Squacky - four friends who snuggle together every night to sing sweet night time songs to their preschool friends at home.
In this first app, based on the beloved television series from The Jim Henson Company and Sprout, Squacky becomes afraid after hiding in a dark closet during a game of hide and seek. His imagination gets the better of him and now it's up to Apollo, Sweetpea Sue, CowBella and you, of course, to put Squacky's mind at ease. Interact with your favorite characters in the first fully 3D, interactive version of the Pajanimals show on your iPhone or iPad!
• FULLY INTERACTIVE EPISODE
In this fully interactive Pajanimals episode you and your children can play, sing and dance along with their favorite characters, lovingly recreated in full 3D. Play hide and seek, matching games and even blast off in a rocket ship and visit the moon, tapping the stars to create a fireworks display!
• EXPLORE, PLAY & GET READY FOR BED
Discover all the fun toys you can play with in the Pajanimals rooms. Then help the Pajanimals brush their teeth and get ready for bed.
• SING-A-LONG TO YOUR FAVORITE PAJANIMAL SONGS
Feel the rhythm as you tap along with your favorite Pajanimals songs. Using the actual voiceovers and songs from the show, the app enhances them with rhythmic touch screen games, allowing your children to play along with "Pajamarama Bounce" and "Night Sky" and watch as objects in the environment spring to life!