The most engaging book apps can enhance the reading experience in ways that aren't possible with paperback books. Sofus and the Moonmachine is a fine example of such book apps.
Help Sofus fix the Moonmachine
The story follows Sofus, a little gnorf, on his dangerous journey to repair the Moonmachine, a clockwork machine in the sky that provides daylight to his forest planet. When his spaceship crash-lands into the Moonmachine, Sofus must somehow find his way back before the inhabitants of his planet fall asleep forever.
A unique blend of a children's book and a point-and-click adventure, Sofus and the Moonmachine requires the reader to actively participate in the story. Every scene has a task to be completed, whether it's tapping to open the door to Sofus's laboratory or tilting the device to navigate Sofus's spaceship through a maze of asteroids. These tasks are weaved so seamlessly into the narrative that the app often feels more like a game than a book.
Inspired by old Nordish fairytales, the world presented by Sofus and the Moonmachine is filled with curious creatures and magical forests. It's also partly influenced by steampunk, and readers will discover various surreal contraptions and robots throughout the book's 19 unique scenes. The story itself is quite unique and includes hundreds of whimsical rhymes to entertain early readers.
Parents Need to Know
Sofus and the Moonmachine makes for an excellent reading material for kids aged 4-8. Kids can choose to read the story by themselves or have it read to them by a professional narrator. They can also jump to specific pages using the page navigator on the main screen.
The app has no adverts and no in-app purchases. All the contents are included with the initial download, and no Internet connection is necessary to use the app. The app is currently only available in English.
Things I Like
Interactivity in storybook apps can sometimes feel superfluous, but that's not the case in Sofus and the Moonmachine. It manages to hit that sweet spot where interactivity doesn't distract the reader but instead adds to the reading experience. When the reader is asked to say, swipe to push a lever, the interaction feels meaningful because it actually drives the story forward.
Appearance-wise, the app gets high marks from me. Each scene is packed with enough visual detail to stir the imagination, and the animation is fluid. The only downside is that sometimes you don't always know where to tap but hints do appear after a few seconds of inactivity or several incorrect taps.
The writing is also a big part of the app's appeal. It flows nicely and has a solid plot. It also has the right amount of tension and playfulness. My only wish is that it didn't end so soon!
Sofus and the Moonmachine skillfully blends a point-and-click game and a children's book, to create a reading experience that kids of all ages will enjoy. The story, inspired by Nordish fairytales, is accompanied by detailed illustrations and original soundtrack that evoke the imagination. Overall, this is a steampunk adventure you don't want to miss.
App was purchased by us.