Now a tour, now a chase and much in need of copy editing, this helter-skelter introduction to Istanbul presents the city’s highlights with more enthusiasm than grace.
A stray goose alternately pursued and squired by two street cats named Fatty and Misty hits all the major sights in turn, from Topkapi Palace and the Bosphorus to Hagia Sophia and funky Istiklal Street. Each loosely drawn cartoon scene features atmospheric music or street noise and tap-activated meows or other sound effects. Most also include flashing links that open large inset photos (also available in a separate gallery, but labeled only with numbers on the index map) with explanatory commentary (that often features variant spellings). The main text, which is printed in different sizes and jammed higgledy-piggledy into any space available, comes in rhymed English or Turkish (a dead link to a German text implies a third language to come). It is read by an animated narrator and offers (in English, anyway) lines like “ ‘Look,’ cried Fatty, ‘there he goes.’ / ‘Into the Grand Bazaar’s wild throes,’ [sic] ” plus an unhappily phrased reference to “thousands of different fish floating in the water” of the Basilica Cistern. Furthermore, the app tends to crash if the pages are swiped too fast.
The photographs are enticingly grand and bright, but the covering story and the software still have far to go. (iPad informational app. 7-9)