I am sure that many of you are familiar with the mischievous and delightful Olivia, the pig who is just a bit different. She’s been in books, on television and now she is making her appearance in an iPhone app.
I was introduced to Olivia through her first couple of books, Olivia and Olivia Saves the Circus, as well as the board book Olivia’s Opposites. The art was gorgeous, the lack of color variety obviously intentional, and the story awesome. Here was a pig who refused to be like everyone else, and was proud of that fact. She had her own way about things, which I hoped would also encourage children to be proud of, and cultivate, their own individuality.
Now you can also find Olivia in her own iPhone/iPod Touch app called, oddly enough, Olivia. The game is all about painting, but it isn’t the same as other painting apps I have seen. You don’t just pick a color and fill in an area. Olivia teaches you how to mix colors to make new ones, including mixing in white and black to make at least two levels of tints and shades. As you’re mixing colors, Olivia explains what you’re doing and what color you get out of the mixing. Because there is more than one level of mixing, almost the entire color palette is open to you. There is even a cup of water to clean your brush when you’re ready to change colors. If you aren’t ready to mix colors, however, you can always just play with the primary colors, plus black and white.
The best way to start the game is to go through the helpful tutorial. I do highly recommend this. It explains how to use the interface to mix the colors. It wasn’t intuitive at first. It also explains how to paint small areas that are hard to tap. All of the instructions throughout the game are spoken, which makes it great for non-readers. There is also cute Olivia music playing in the background.
When you’re ready to really dig in to the app, you can peruse Olivia’s six different rooms full of stickers to paint. Each room has five stickers. Some are of Olivia, some are of other things such as a treasure map. When you’re ready to repaint the stickers in a room, you can reset that room and start over.
Olivia is currently available in the iTunes store for $2.99. It is intended for kids age 4 and up, but it can even be fun for grownups to play around with.
Wired: Sophisticated color mixing, fun Olivia interface, appeals to a decently wide age range.
Tired: Once you’ve painted everything several times, you may wish for more options.
Note: I received a copy of Olivia for review.