Don’t you ever wish you could combine the head of a Triceratops, the body of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the spiky tail of a Stegosaurus? (No? Okay, maybe it’s just me.) Now you can, without all the cutting and stitching or DNA manipulation! All you need is an iPhone or iPod touch. DinoMixer is a fun little app that combines two kid favorites: dinosaurs and your iPhone.
I got a review copy and both my daughters love it. (Even the three-year-old has had no difficulty with the controls, which are simple and intuitive.) There are currently fourteen dinosaurs to choose from, with more promised in future updates. Each dino is separated into three pieces: head, torso, and tail, which you can swipe up and down to mix and match. Or, you can just shake the iPhone and they’ll spin around, jackpot-style. The background and foreground can also be swiped left and right for different scenes (or an entirely blank background if you want a better look at the dinosaur).
When you do get three pieces of the same dinosaur lined up, the name appears at the bottom, along with a button to push to get a few screens of data about it. My daughters currently skip the text and the screen showing geographical information to get to the third screen, which shows the dino’s relative size to a human. Also, each dinosaur makes a different noise when it’s completed; I don’t know how well-researched this particular aspect is, but it’s kind of fun.
There are general sorts of jungle-ish sounds in the background while you play (and can be shut off), but one feature I would have liked in addition is an audio pronunciation of each dino’s name, so that when younger kids are playing with it they’ll hear the name rather than just trying to muddle through it.
The artwork is excellent with just the right amount of detail: it’s certainly comparable to what you might find in a book about dinosaurs. The best part? DinoMixer is only 99 cents, so it won’t set you back much and will keep your kids entertained (and educated!) for hours.
Oh, one minor complaint about the interface: on the first info screen, the lengthier text about each dino can be scrolled up and down; sometimes this interferes with attempts to scroll right to the next info screen. It’s not a big deal, but maybe could be addressed in a future update.
Wired: Mix-and-match roaring dinosaurs for only 99 cents.
Tired: Would be nice to have pronunciation of the dinosaurs; minor interface issues.