Toys are beneficial for children’s development. The best toys engage their senses and spark their imagination. Over the years we have come across some lovely digital toys, but today we urge you to check out The Robot Factory.
It’s the latest app from Tinybop, maker of critically-acclaimed apps Homes (our review here) and The Human Body. It’s also the first in their line of digital toys. As you might have guessed from the name, The Robot Factory lets kids build their own robots.
To the Robot Factory
The Robot Factory is built around the notion that construction sets should allow kids to build things from their imaginations instead of predetermined designs. It provides the pieces needed to make the robots, but it is flexible about how you use them. There aren’t explicit instructions; most the creative process rely on trial and error.
You start by choosing a body for your robot. This is the only component that you can’t change after you have selected it, but you can always start a new robot from scratch. Next, you can choose from more than 50 unique parts to complete your robot. For convenience the app organizes these parts into several categories: head, arms and legs, hands and feet, and facial features. But, you can attach any part anywhere you like. For example, you can make a robot with three pairs of eyes, a rotor arm, and a pogo stick leg.
You can connect parts asymmetrically, at the front, at the back, and at the sides. You can also join multiple parts together. To attach a part, simply drag it to a colored dot. The blue dots signify that the part will be put at the front, whereas the red dots indicate that it will be placed at the back.
You can leave your robot bare, or customize it using the premade color templates. Additionally, you can give it robot noises. You can record sounds for a happy mood, a sad mood, and a greeting.
Once you have finished your creation, you can take it for a spin in the test arena. Here, you can see whether or not your robot would be able to trek through a treacherous landscape filed with plants, rocks, slippery mud, bear traps, and even pits. You control your robot’s movement by tapping on the screen, navigating it as far as it can before it runs out of battery. The numbers at the bottom of the screen shows how far you’ve travelled and your record distance.
It is possible that your robot fails to move or gets destroyed during the test (falling into traps is not a good thing, neither is plunging back to the ground after a failed flight). Fortunately, you can take it back to the lab anytime to repair or modify it. You can also place it in the showroom so you can come back and play with it later.
Parents Need to Know
The Robot Factory features an open-ended gameplay with no time limit and no high scores. You are given the freedom to build your robot any way you like — they can use leg parts as arms, for example. You can tear your robot apart and build it again. It’s really up to you. The recommended age for the app is four and up.
For households with more than one child, the app allows the creation of multiple profiles. Additionally, parents can create free Dashboard accounts where you can receive the latest news from the developer. Outside this section, you don’t need an Internet connection to use the app.
The Robot Factory has no third-party ads and no in-app purchases. A “More Apps” section, accessible from the main screen, contains secured links to the developer’s other apps. It supports a multitude of language including English, Arabic, French, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian. It is available for iPhone and iPad.
Things I Like
A big part of what makes the app so fun to play with is you get to see your creations come to life. Not just whirr and buzz for a bit, but actually walk, fly, and even stumble. The app implements a realistic physics engine where the design and materials of your robot can affect how it moves. The spider legs, for example, are more nimble compared to the slow and heavy tank track. The former will leap over obstacles easily while the latter will have a harder time moving over bumps.
This dynamic design is great because it encourages kids to experiment with different kinds of robots. The app also focuses on process instead of results, so kids don’t feel pressurized when their robots fail. Instead, they are more willing to try again.
I’ve come to expect stunning visuals from Tinybop apps, and The Robot Factory doesn’t disappoint. I like how the designs are not steered towards a specific gender. They actually appeal to everyone, kids and adults alike. So, if your child ever gets tired of the app you can enjoy it yourself!
Imagination runs free as kids build their dream bots in this beautiful robot factory. They can mix and match 50+ unique parts to experiment with different designs, then see if their construction holds up in the treacherous test arena. The app supports multiple profiles, so more than one child can play on the same device.
App was provided for our honest review.