Some of you N4G detectives may have sussed out that I have a tiny person in my life, The Toddler. What this means for my gaming is that there’s a whole mess of iPad apps downloaded to my Mini, and I am not their target audience. Bubl Draw was sent my way for review, and I know I'm not an isolated case of parenthood on N4G, so consider this your app recommendation for the week!
While I was occasionally given a chance to explore on my own the happy reality is that The Toddler took control and set to playing what she dubbed “The Octopus app”. Musical apps are among her favorites, from Toca Band to Garage Band, and Bubl Draw has secured a place on the first screen.
Layering colors in a doodling interface you add the sound of instruments from a palette in the bottom bar. Lines and enclosed shapes are the primary musical elements. The shapes can be scaled and moved, and the lines dragged and swirled. Tapping a shape plays the sound of the instrument, and tapping in a line (which you can do successive times) plays for a time across the doodle with varying complexity based on the number of dots and the tempo. There are ten instruments across three genres - disco, classical, rhumba - and you can cycle between them and see their affect on the existing doodle.
Bubl Draw is geared towards the 4+ set, but I think 2+ is more accurate as the free play principle is core. The lack of interruption with a tutorial* is great, and when The Toddler realized that she could create more than blobs - stars! hearts! - the joy of discovery was palpable. The creative tandem of art and music is fun for both of us, and as she grows I can see her creating more complex drawings and compositions.
Bubl Draw ticks a lot of the Guilt Free Gaming boxes for parents: creativity, art, music, free play. Add in pleasant sounds and a slick, ad-free interface and I'd rather drop $1.99 on this than a cake pop. I’m guilty of sneaky deleting some less than stellar app performers while The Toddler is looking the other way, but “The Octopus” is here to stay.
*There is a homescreen "?" with tips and guidance if you're the instruction manual sort