Blinking its yellow eyes, the eponymous Beast (The Lonely Beast, 2011) squires diapered digerati through the ABCs in this simple but (largely) satisfying app.
Though a black, hairy and (except for those eyes) featureless silhouette, the Beast comes off as an agreeable tour guide in Judge’s cleanly drawn and brightly colored scenes. On each screen, a large single letter (shown in upper- and lowercase) starts a declarative sentence (“Y is for yo-yo”) that is read—repeatedly, with taps—by the author. With further taps and, usually, help from familiar animals or other figures, the Beast rows by in a Boat as fish flit out of sight, pounds away on Drums, emits a raspberry through an attached Elephant trunk, models a series of Hats and Kicks balls belonging to a variety of sports as off-screen crowds cheer. Children can also pop bubbles for a Crab, place various foods atop a Fork, consume Ice-Cream and an Orange, and play a Xylophone on the way to a noisy Zoo. The design is somewhat inflexible, as there is no way to skip around aside from swiping back or forth one screen at a time, and restarts require either closing the app or reaching a “Start Over” button at the end. Nevertheless, the touch-activated effects offer some compensation with a range of pleasing, often surprising sounds and animations.
Pleasantly unprepossessing from A to Z. (iPad alphabet app. 2-4)