If you’ve got little children and a touch screen device, there’s a pretty straight chance you’ve already encountered a Toca Boca product or three. Toca Pet Doctor for iPhone is an education game seeking kids 2 through 6 to help 15 different pets with their problems. Toca Pet Doctor app is priced $2.83 in iTunes App Store.
When it comes to instinctive design, Toca Pet Doctor for iPhone app is classically on point. What you see is what you get: 15 different animals awaiting attention with nary a human in sight. It’s like the waiting room to the world’s cutest and quietest veterinarian’s office. Tapping on an animal begins its mini-game, each of which asks the player to heal an injury of some sort before feeding the animal in snack. Not all of the maladies are created equal, as the rabbit has what appears to be a very bad multi-bone fracture but the worm simply has his tail tied in a small knot. Identifying what was wrong was simple enough for my testers (a 5-year old boy and 7-year old girl), and healing the boo-boos usually wasn’t much tougher.
Some of the animals do need two-step fixes, like applying lotion followed by a band-aid, but the most difficult single task is probably wrapping an injured limb, which requires the player to swipe in a circular motion to replicate … well, actually wrapping something in gauze. Even after the animals are healthy, they’re still hungry. That means dragging food to their mouths, learning something about the critters’ diets and how they eat in the process. Kids will surely enjoy this part of Toca Pet Doctor game, maybe even more than playing doctor. All throughout, there’s some pleasant though cyclic music playing in the background, along with the animal sounds you’d expect. The animations are simple but effective, and the animals who have been helped take naps so it’s easy for little ones to decide who they haven’t seen yet. The nonappearance of words or instructions of any kind make this more suitable for children who aren’t reading yet, as they’ll still be exposed to concepts like matching shapes and sizes while getting in some fine motor skill practice at the same time.
Toca Pet Doctor for iPhone is a semi-long winded way of saying this is another Toca Boca game app success, one that seems worth the couple of bucks you’ll pay to download it to stay in the hassle-free, safe and educational neighborhood of mobile kids’ games. Kind of makes one wish they had tablets back in the 80s.