A new app series that combines several genres and styles to create a doggie adventure that feels fresh, Millie Was Here is off to a fetching start with a free preview—Meet Millie—and this separate full-length story.
Millie is a globe-trotting adventurer—though you would probably never know it if the mundane photos she's featured in hadn't been modified to put her on computer-generated planes or facing real-life boats with pasted-in pirate flags. The entire story is like that: overheated narration and text juxtaposed with otherwise plain dog-about-town pictures. "The island was dark and mysterious," the narrator intones as the fluffy black-and-white lapdog stands, leashed, in a pleasant urban park. But the trick works because the app is designed so well and has a sense of humor. It offers surprises on every page, from pull tabs that reveal hidden treasures to scratch-off games and hidden collectible cards. Though Millie's quest for the Lost Key to Endless Bacon feels a bit longer than necessary at 22 pages, the clever touches throughout, such as a stuffed animal who that is Millie's evil archenemy, are amusing and well-executed. Sound design, navigation and music are all high-quality, and a "Bedtime Mode" option that lowers the volume and dims the screen for nighttime reading is a welcome feature.
It's too early to tell if the running joke of Millie's outsized adventures will get old, but at least in this first set of apps, Millie more than earns whatever kibble App Store sales may provide for her. (iPad storybook app. 4-10)