The mobile games from Toca Boca have been thrilling kids since their first release (the late, great Helicopter Taxi) in 2011. All of the applications (for iOS, Android and Kindle) are designed to promote imaginative play through intentionally open-ended stories. The forced creative narratives that come from the Toca Boca apps might be the digital equivalent of the kind of creative play that many remember from childhood when blocks, cars, dolls or action figures drove the story.
There are two varieties of Toca Boca games: the open world apps that are part of the “Life” family and those that are focused creativity, like the new Toca Kitchen: Sushi.
Toca Kitchen Sushi
The latest in the creative games from Toca Boca makes the child a chef in their own busy restaurant. They decide what the customers will eat, choosing from all kinds of ingredients, some customary and others not so much (candy cane sushi – why not?). The chef is provided with condiments, tools, serving dishes and more that allow for an unimaginable variety to serve the customers that come in.
The enormously fun, often silly, always intriguing Toca Kitchen: Sushi is available for download now:
Toca Life: World
The other variety of game that has made Toca Boca a favorite are the open world games that make up the “Life” family of applications that goes all the way back to Toca Life: Town from May 2014. These games allow players to change the environment and characters within the different locales of each, including pets, school, office and more.
All the different locations existed in isolation within in their own applications… until Toca Life: World was released late last year. The mega-app brings all of the Toca Life apps together on a single world, letting the player’s characters move between the formerly separate game locations. Kids who own any of the eleven (11!) Toca Life games will find all of the content from that app pulled to the map in the World game. The content from any games that the child does not already own are available as in-app purchases. Future Toca Life environments (and all their associated content) will expand the playable area of Toca Life: World.
Toca Life: World is available for free, and includes the Bop City environment with 8 different locations and characters to use.
It’s A Toca World, We’re Just Living in It
The newest releases from Toca Boca continue the tradition of games that are open ended, intuitive to use, and accessible to a global audience (they have no spoken or written language in the games themselves). Games that embrace these criteria could flip the idea of screen-time limits (in hopes of promoting real world activity and interaction), on its head by encouraging the creative play that encourages growth of young minds… despite being on a screen.