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JACK'S SECRET MONSTER by GameDigits Ltd.

JACK'S SECRET MONSTER

By GameDigits Ltd.

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 23rd, 2012
Publisher: GameDigits

Poor design choices and an unconvincing story hobble an attempt to create a Choose Your Own Adventure–style story about a boy and a mess-making monster in his house.

Young Jack finds a monster and brings it home—where it gets loose and begins wreaking havoc. The boy must find the monster and decide whether to tell his parents the truth about the destructive creature. But it soon becomes a chore, as the story branches are based on decisions such as choosing which room to search and whether to help the monster or fess up to Jack's parents. Getting to the end of the story (which changes based on decisions to lie or tell the truth) takes some effort, as clumsy design choices abound. Exploring the screen as the lengthy bits of narration unwind can inadvertently cut the text short. Many of the app's well-drawn, busy pages are meant to be searched through to find the hiding monster, though the floating eyeball that seems meant to indicate where to tap perplexes more than it guides. The only way to achieve a happy ending is always to tell the truth. Otherwise, the story ends with a chastened Jack cleaning up a huge mess: "Maybe if he'd made different choices, things could have been better..."

It's a message harried parents will appreciate but which even very young readers may feel lacks nuance. (iPad storybook app. 4-8)