An under-the-sea example of unimaginative design and leaky storytelling, this app sinks quickly.
Readers are invited to command a submarine, but even the opening page, with its uninviting block of text, three sets of circular controls and a window to an empty expanse of azure nothing is more blah than blue wonder. Pages of rhyming instructions ("The radar beeps and flashes, / Keep a lookout up ahead, / Steer safely through the tangled nets, / Aim for the ocean bed") are followed by ocean scenes in which readers steer a bullet-shaped red submarine past crabs, whales and shipwrecks. The controls are a four-way direction dial, but the only way to advance is to keep tapping the right arrow until the submarine nudges its way (so, so slowly) across the screen. While the cartoonish fauna are cute enough and the scenes are colorful and interactive—even the sharks like to play—the meaningless navigation turns the story into the most boring kind of video game. The idea is certainly rich enough for a great adventure, but the execution here is lacking. Compared to similarly themed aquatic apps, this one's simply out of its league.
More bargain-bin video game than genuine story, this submarine sojourn is anything but airtight. (iPad storybook app. 3-6)