Last February, Camila reviewed Sofia the First: Story Theater, a storybook app adapted from the TV series of the same name. Ever since, Sofia the First has been one of the shows that we frequently watch at home.
A couple of weeks ago, Disney released a sequel to the app. Sofia the First: The Floating Palace is adapted from its second TV movie which was aired on Nov 24, 2013. Compared to its prequel, this app is a much-improved version and deserves a recognition of its own.
The story starts when Sofia and her royal family are going on a summer vacation to visit Merroway Cove by riding a big boat that looks more like a floating palace. She meets a mermaid named Oona who gets herself tangled in a net. Sofia helps untangle her, but Oona can’t swim because her fin is hurt by the net.
As Sofia slides into the water to help Oona, her magical amulet turns her into a mermaid. Oona is amazed at the power of Sofia’s amulet. Oona also has her own enchanted comb, but her mom hasn’t told her what it’s capable of.
Then, Sofia meets with Oona’s friends: Sven the seahorse, and Oona’s big sister named Cora. Cora uses moon kelp to heal Oona’s fin before they take Sofia to meet their mother: Queen Emmaline.
Queen Emmaline is not happy with Sofia’s floating palace hovering over her territory. She threatens to use her magic trident to blow up Sofia’s palace, and Sofia pleads for a chance to move the palace away.
Unfortunately, on her way back to the palace, Sofia finds a sea monster that tries to capture Oona’s enchanted comb. When Sofia reports back to Queen Emmaline, she was instructed to save Oona before sundown or her palace would be sunk.
Sofia then gathers up her friends: Sven the seahorse, Clover the rabbit, and Farley the seagull. But, the sea monster is too powerful. Princess Ariel comes along and tells Sofia: "If only the humans and the mermaids work together."
Can Sofia come up with a plan to rescue Oona? Will there be enough time for Sofia and friends to save both Oona and Sofia’s floating palace?
Parents Need to Know
Sofia and the Floating Palace is best suited for slightly order juniors. The 19-page story is actually adapted from a 48-minute TV movie, which means it is rather compact. I would recommend the app for juniors ages 7+ as there is plenty of reading to do on every page. The Auto Feature works well, but it might be a bit fast for younger juniors.
Like its predecessor, the app features a puppet theater which lets juniors play and record their own stories. They can use any of the backgrounds provided, select their favorite characters, add props onto the scene, select a soundtrack, and add dialogs/narration. They can pinch-to-zoom each puppet to adjust its size, and move it out of the scene if needed.
Improvements to the Puppet Theater
Camila loved the Puppet Theater included in the prequel app so much. Now, all of these aspects are much improved. Juniors can now select from 5 available backgrounds (compared to three in the previous app), 14 characters (including a puppet of Sofia the Princess and Sofia the Mermaid). While there are no props to add, the background is now more flexible -- juniors can pan to the left/right with/without the characters as though they have a very wide stage.
In the new app, it is no longer necessary to pinch to adjust each character’s size. The app will automatically adjust the size as you drag them closer to you or further from you. Some backgrounds are drawn with perspectives, which make it easy to shrink the characters when you move them upwards, and zoom them going downwards.
The new app also includes a set of three scenarios to make it easier for juniors to start recording. The developers even added shortcut buttons where juniors can jump from the pages inside the storybook to the Puppet Theater and back. The scenarios come pre-built with a specific background and a set of characters that are involved in the related scene from the storyline.
One final thing to love about the new Puppet Theater: the ability to export the recorded videos into the Camera Roll. Simply swipe through the carousel to find the videos to export and tap on the Share icon. Once it’s in your Camera Roll, it can be edited, combined, filtered, and shared to your favourite social networks.
Sofia the First: Floating Palace is a much-improved sequel to the first app in the series. It has one of the best Puppet Theater recording feature I’ve seen so far. If you love creativity apps that let juniors create their own animated stories with puppets, you should definitely give the app a try. And if your juniors are fans of the series, this is a must have.
App was provided for our honest review.