Marcel the bookworm lives in a magical apple that provides him with an endless supply of books.
Marcel needs shelter from the bitter cold of winter. Luckily, a magical apple appears, blows its top and begins spewing books. Throughout the next 12 months, Marcel reads incessantly while the apple carries him to various seasonally appropriate locations, where he meets new friends and gives them books to read. The concept, though on the weird side, isn't a total dud, but the writing is never better than bland. The developer’s vision statement articulates a commitment to developing stimulating, creative and interactive applications for children; unfortunately this effort is unsuccessful on all counts. While the muted watercolor-like backgrounds are visually appealing, the graphics and animation are primitive and utterly underwhelming. Snow and rain fall, selected fish wiggle (though, disappointingly, all crustaceans are static), the moon cycles through phases and on one page—which is arguably the technological high point—the waters are briefly troubled and then stilled. Besides page turns, interactive elements are limited. Readers can eliminate words from the page and/or silence narration, but they cannot stifle the often-annoying electronic ditties that drone and tinkle from beginning to end (unless everything is silenced altogether, which rules out music-free narration).
Though the technical and literary elements don’t warrant a failing grade, there’s not much to bite in to here. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)