If your child is a Toca Boca fan, you have probably heard of Toca Life. They are digital playsets that promote storytelling and creative play. There are no rules to play, and kids get to decide what happens to the app's characters. The latest title to join the lineup is Toca Life: Hospital, where kids can play out the joy and pain of life in their own way.
Tell Your Story
In Toca Life: Hospital, kids explore five unique floors that contain abundant items and secrets. They can go to the basement to check out the ambulance and try to find a way into the secret lab, then visit entrance floor to check in at the reception desk and grab a snack from the cafe. At the treatment floor, they can diagnose patients using various tools, perform experiments at the lab, and lead a surgery at the operating room. The family care floor has a maternity ward with an ultrasound machine, plus a unit specially for kids. Meanwhile, the general care floor has a farewell room should a loved one dies, and a peaceful garden.
The app has more than 30 characters of various ages, genders, and ethnicities. Kids add or remove characters from the screen by dragging and dropping from the sidewalk menu. They can also move characters from floor to floor using the elevator.
Throughout the app, kids will find various items scattered about. They can give their characters these items to hold or use. They can also dress up their characters in various clothes, such as scrubs, hospital gowns, bath robes, and many more. Also available are all the tools you'd find in a real-life hospital, such as crutches, wheelchairs, bandages, and more.
As with other Toca Life apps, Toca Life: Hospital is full of surprises. For example, kids can use the X-ray machine to diagnose patients, turn on the radio to play songs, withdraw money from the ATM, and so on. Some surprises are hidden really well, so kids will have the time of their life trying to discover them all.
While playing, kids can create their own videos using the in-app recording feature. This feature will record their voice and their characters' movements as they tell the story. Each video can be as long as two minutes. Kids can then save the video to the Camera Roll to share later.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toca Life: Hospital has no third-party ads and no in-app purchases. A section called Life Weekly, accessible from the main screen, allows kids to discover curated video updates from the developer. If desired, parents can turn off this feature, along with the recording feature and music, from the device's Settings menu.
The app is available for iOS and Android devices. One thing to note is that the iOS version doesn't have the feature to make the characters sick. This is due to App Store guidelines. However, this feature is available on Android.
Things I Like
Like the rest of the Toca Life apps, Toca Life: Hospital is overloaded with details. There are so many areas to explore that kids are likely to discover something new every time they play. There are also several secrets to uncover, which only add to the excitement of playing.
What I like best about the app (and Toca Boca apps in general) is its inclusiveness and support for all kinds of play. The cast consists of diverse characters: babies, kids, elderlies, pregnant women, and even characters who are bald (presumably because of chemotherapy). Kids can also create scenarios that are sad or scary.
As a plus point, the app makes a great tool to help promote empathy and kindness. You can, for example, ask kids what they think about kids their age who have to stay at the hospital because of illnesses. You can also help soon-to-be older siblings prepare for the new baby by reenacting a birthing scene.
A solid addition to the Toca Life lineup, Toca Life: Hospital lets kids explore and create their own stories in a virtual hospital. The app has a diverse cast of characters and tons of details that allow kids to come up with all kinds of scenarios. A record feature makes it easy for kids to make their own videos and share them with family and friends. Highly recommended!
App was provided for our honest review.