Cracking into the edutainment scene with a quality product isn’t easy, but Zebrainy ABCs makes teaching children the alphabet look like a breeze. Bursting with bright, vivid colours and an engaging voice over, players are invited to guide a cute, multicoloured zebra through 26 beautifully illustrated worlds, each of which corresponds to a letter of the alphabet and draws inspiration from the sagacious fables of da Vinci. The app is clearly intended for wee ones, so naturally, the pacing is slow for adults alone, but perfectly calibrated for a shared experience between parent and child.
Rather ingeniously, gameplay takes advantage of the smartphone touch screen surface by transforming it into an interactive teaching tool. Players use their fingers to drag shiny neon spheres into the necessary position to form a given letter, right after a brief exposure to the letter in question. This process, which links together sight, touch and sound (the narrator congratulates you when you form the letter correctly) is a fantastic multisensory approach to learning, and is repeated for the entire alphabet. After successfully assembling a letter, players are transported into a living, breathing world full of beautifully animated creatures and objects all beginning with ‘A’, ‘B’ and so on, which is secretly scholastic reinforcement in disguise. This is ideal for parents struggling to convince their kids to study using traditional methods, who probably overlap with those trying to trick their kids into eating more veggies. Both forms of deceit are acceptable in this author’s opinion.
Zebrainy ABCs neatly tracks progress via a spiral chart that depicts both unlocked and locked letters, and offers players the option to repeat previously completed levels. Unfortunately, there’s no way to skip through cutscenes if you simply want to dash through a level, and the game occasionally crashes, requiring a quick reboot. A more pressing matter is the presence of some spelling mistakes, eg ‘canarey’, which isn’t really problematic in any other genre, but in the edutainment realm accuracy is of paramount importance. Aside from that, all words are depicted in a large, easy to read format and come with audio support plus a short definition, which nicely complements phonics taught in real classrooms.
Colourful, engaging and infused with pure, infectious joy, Zebrainy ABCs is genuine fun from A to Z. Aside from being a great educational tool, the fairytale inspired environmental art and lovely orchestral arrangements will delight children - and those who are children at heart. Zebrainy ABCs is currently available from the App Store and Google Play Store absolutely free.
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Colourful, engaging and infused with pure, infectious joy, Zebrainy ABCs is genuine fun from A to Z. Aside from being a great educational tool, the fairytale inspired environmental art and lovely orchestral arrangements will delight children - and those who are children at heart.