We have a soft spot for apps that foster creativity in kids. We realize that we do not review as many of them as we'd like, but when we do find one we try our best to share it with you. So, here we are with our app pick of the day: IdentiKat.
A beautiful puzzle/creation-based game, IdentiKat tasks you to put together colorful "kats": quirky cats made from laces, scrap fabrics, old buttons, and other materials commonly find in grandma's sewing box.
Paws Off, Please
Advertised as a game for creative kids and cats, IdentiKat provides an interactive and immersive experience. Even on the home screen, you can tap around to find a number of animated cats hidden away in a nighttime cityscape. The cats meow and animate a bit when they come out, which is a delightful sight.
When you finish playing with the city cats, you can continue to the more "serious" activities: KatCut or KatLab. KatCut is a puzzle game where you recreate pre-made cats, and KatLab is a free-play creation room where you can make your own cats from scraps.
In KatCut, the app presents you with six cats that you unlock one by one. Tap on a cat to select it. At this point, the app changes its orientation from horizontal to portrait, so you need to turn your device accordingly. Depending on your child's age and experience with the iPad, parental supervision may be necessary here.
Once you see your selected cat, tap on it to start your puzzle. It will disintegrate into a pile of materials at the bottom of the screen, and your job is to put them back together. As a cat is composed of many pieces, sometimes you can forget which piece goes where. Fortunately, the app has a clever hint system: simply tap and hold the button at the top right of the screen, and the misplaced pieces will animate back to their supposed places. Let go of the button, and the pieces will fall back into their previous positions.
Next, it is only a matter of dragging all the materials back to their correct places. When you successfully put a cat back together, it does an amusing little dance under a shower of colorful cut-out buttons.
After working with pre-made designs, eventually you will want to build a cat of your own. KatLab provides you with a wide variety of materials to do this: scraps, buttons, strings, laces, etc. Do note that the app lets you make just about anything, not just cats. There are no restrictions either on how many items you can use at a time.
You can resize and rotate pieces using two-finger gestures, and even change their colors by tapping on the rainbow string. If you need to, you can send an item to back by double tapping on it. A word of warning, though: to delete an item, tap on the X button and not the trash can. The latter clears your entire canvas, albeit not before prompting you first.
Finally, when you are done with your masterpiece, you can name and frame it. You can also save a picture of your framed cat to Camera Roll with a single tap of a button.
Parents Need to Know
IdentiKat is a fun app that promotes the development of creativity and problem solving skills. The game also sharpens the memory as you try to remember where each material belongs in KatCut puzzles.
An interesting tidbit is that the cats were handcrafted by Italian artist Cristina Làstrego. If you are curious to learn how the app came to be, you can tap on the Kat? menu from the home screen to access a short video showing the app's development process.
You can watch how Làstrego designed the cats, how the catty sound effects were recorded, and even sneak peeks at the animation process. It's an amusing video, and I think kids will enjoy it as well.
On the developers' site, you can submit your cat and download pictures of several materials that you can find in the app. You can then print these out to cut and assemble by hand.
Things I Like
To be honest, I'm more of a dog person. But, it doesn't stop me from loving IdentiKat. It's a truly fascinating app, full of imagination and quirkiness. It's also a great way to stimulate the artist in your junior by showing how one can make interesting collages using the things found around the house.
Visually, the app is striking with its bold color palette and superb details. The materials introduced in the app — like fabrics, brooches, and buttons — are so lifelike, you can just imagine the textures beneath your fingertips.
The background music also complements the app well. It sounds like the kind of music people play in lounges or exclusive cafés, and it fades into the background (in a good way).
A suggestion that I have for the developers would be to move the clear canvas feature in KatLab somewhere that is not so easily tapped. I also think that it would be nice to be able to access all the cats that I've made in a gallery and use them as puzzles.
All in all, IdentiKat is a highly interactive app that sparks imagination and creativity through collage-making activities. I say the app would be best to use with kids ages three and up (and people who like cats, obviously), but it is good fun for all ages. Highly recommended.
Identikat is available for iPad
Get it on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.