This app, Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure, provides a lot of entertainment for anyone looking for something to quickly provide entertainment for children. It costs $1.99 and functions with iPhones, iPads, and Android. The app contains a large map broken down into a set of sixteen smaller puzzles, each showing a section of the brightly painted city’s topography. While working on individual puzzle sections, the difficulty level can be adjusted. It is possible for each puzzle to contain anywhere between 15 and 260 pieces. For additional variety to the difficulty level, there is the option of either making individual pieces, once selected and placed into the blank area reserved for outlining the puzzle, either automatically point in the correct direction or need to be manually rotated to fit. Extra features make it possible to remove any unattached pieces to show the overall progress and offer a chance of a brief reminder of what the finished picture should look like. One, two, or three stars are awarded when a puzzle is completed depending on the difficulty level. The app allows up to five people to save their puzzles. If anyone feels more competitive, or wants to test their strengthened puzzle skills, it is possible to go back and redo a puzzle with an increased difficulty setting.
The pictures the puzzles are made out of come from Roxie Munroe. While she has illustrated a number of children’s books, none of apps she has been involved in creating are linked to large children’s media and commercial franchises. However, the app clearly has very wide appeal. School Library Journal lists the age range as preschool through the sixth grade. Due to the fact that the number of puzzle pieces can be set very low, it is appropriate for preschool aged children. The puzzles provide children with opportunities to use their motor skills and work on problem solving. The content is age-appropriate and the birds-eye-view lends itself to making many discoveries of small details, such as an elephant enclosure and a bear standing on a rock.
The app has received quite a bit of critical attention, including from School Library Journal, which praised the level of detail, how easy it is to use, and included it in a 2013 round-up of apps. Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure has clearly been well received and largely accomplishes what it sets out to do. The one potential issue is that, especially on the small screen of an iPhone, the puzzle pieces can be more difficult to maneuver than they should be if the goal is working on children’s motor skills. This is particularly true when there are more than a 100 pieces in play, so it may simply not affect how preschool aged children work on the puzzles. Despite this, it is a lot of fun and it is easy to get sucked into wanting to know what the next part of the map looks like, since this is only revealed after the previous puzzle is complete. It also serves as a chance to compete against one’s own skills in solving the puzzles.