As much as we love apps that educate kids on math and science, we also think it’s important to have apps that entertain and encourage imagination. Which is why we’re happy to know that Moonbot Studios, the award-winning team that produced The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, is planning a new series of apps focused on play and exploration.
The first app is called Moonbeeps: Fireflies. Launched recently on the App Store, it’s an imaginative toy in which kids roam a moonlit forest to collect fireflies.
Gotta Catch Them All
The camera in Fireflies is set in first-person view, so it’s like seeing the forest with your own eyes. You can pan anywhere to view your surroundings: left, right, and even up and down. Over your head, the moon lights up the sky just enough to be able to see the stars and the clouds.
Walking ahead, you’ll see small, luminous fireflies flying past you. Tap on them quickly to collect them in your glass jar. Do note that some fireflies are hard to catch, and will try to escape.
There are four kinds of fireflies available in the app: blue, red, orange, and green. The blue ones are the most abundant, while the other colors are only found deeper in the forest. And, if you’re lucky, you might just catch the rare Luna Moth.
To see all the fireflies you’ve collected, tap on the lid on the bottom of the screen. It is interesting to note that the fireflies react to your touch: tap on the jar rhythmically, and they will tap back. Different colored fireflies can also create new colors when mixed together. For example, red and blue fireflies will generate a purple light, while blue and yellow fireflies will make a green light.
While all of this is happening, soothing music from The Polyphonic Spree’s latest album, Psychophonic, is played in the background. The app also includes atmospheric sound effects, from the rustling trees blown by the wind to the sound of footsteps as you trudge along the moonlit trail.
Parents Need to Know
Fireflies is an open-ended app, meaning there are no set rules for playing the game. While there is only one path to follow, you can walk for as long as you like, and collect as many or as few fireflies. You can also, at anytime, release the fireflies that you’ve captured and start again with an empty jar.
If your device is running on iOS 8, the app can send you interactive notifications when a special firefly (or a Luna Moth) is nearby. However, devices running OSes prior to iOS 8 can still use the app without any problem.
A neat feature is that you can use the app as a nightlight. Simply bring up your jar of fireflies, and watch as they light up the screen. The app will automatically sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.
As a bonus, you can use the app to teach your kids about color mixing. Using different colored fireflies, you can show how two different colors come together to create an entirely new one.
Moonbeeps: Fireflies does not contain third-party ads or in-app purchases.
Things I Like
It shouldn’t come off a surprise considering the development team behind it, but Fireflies is beautiful. The mysterious forest and the starry skies seem like the perfect home for our magical fireflies. Add soothing background music and atmospheric sound effects into the mix, and you get a dreamy landscape that would captivate players of all ages.
I do like how the app introduces kids to something they likely have never seen before: fireflies. Where we live, at least, rapid urban development has caused fireflies to disappear. The last time I saw real-life fireflies was more than 15 years ago. It’s sad that my children probably won't be able to catch fireflies in the summer like I did, but with this app they can at least feel some of the joy.
Moonbeeps: Fireflies is a gorgeous, imaginative app in which kids explore a moonlit forest, collecting colorful fireflies. Beautiful graphics and soothing background music come together to create a dreamy landscape that will captivate kids of all ages. As an added bonus, you can use the app as a nightlight, and it will go to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.
App was provided for our honest review.