Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale gets brisk but eye-catching treatment in this app from Gemioli studios.
This application has the visually agreeable appearance of a diorama and fleshy, toothy characters that look as if they have leapt from the pages of a comic book, plus a soundtrack that lilts and crackles. (The characters have no legs, just shoes somehow in synch with the lower torso. Why is anyone’s guess.) No more than 18 panels—with no more than a couple of sentences per panel—tell Stevenson’s story, from Jim Hawkins’ acquisition of the treasure map to the sail to the island, John Silver’s treachery (no “Long John” here) and castaway Ben Gunn’s sharing of the prize. Fingertip interaction with the screen is minimal—mostly confined to squeaks and yodels by touching the characters, as well as a few items that can be manipulated—so the story really has to pull its own weight. This is a lot to ask for a novel shorn to a fistful of words, and it just doesn’t succeed. The artwork, however, is as indulgent as a single-serving, double-fudge sundae. The colors radiate like fruit at its peak and have a confectionary character that feels as though you could smear them if you are not careful.
The story loses too much in its abbreviation to capture the thrill of the book—or an audience—which is why a picture’s being worth a thousand words is its salvation. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)