It’s not much of a secret that most girls like pink, princesses and fairies, and boys like pirates, knights and football. Try as a stereotype-hating parent might to buck the trend these youthful pleasures seem ingrained at least for the first decade before girls and boys start liking each other.
There are a fluttering legion of fairy apps for the iPhone and iPad, hovering around waiting to lure girls into their magical worlds. Many are of the sickly Disney princess and Barbie variety, but there’s a new game at the end of the iOS garden that goes a lot further than the expected.
Faerie Planet is an active iPhone/iPad/iPod touch game for girls that mixes engaging augmented reality with safe social messaging.
The game uses the iPhone/iPad camera and superimposes a net for catching the fairies, or faeries in this game's parlance. A progress bar (“faerie-o-meter”) at the top of the screen alerts players when a fairy is close by; little clouds of fairy dust appear and you tap away at the on-screen net until the faerie is captured.
See the game in action on the video here.
Tip: faeries seem to like green so you’ll catch them quicker if you aim the device at things of this colour. This should encourage more active gameplay outside, which is a neat twist as most iPhone/iPad games keep the child sat down indoors.
Once captured you can either keep the faerie or set her free. There are 10 faeries to discover (Woodland, Field, Urban, Desert, Lake, Air, Rock, Tree, Noble and Fire), all with their own looks and personalities.
The free version of Faerie Planet has two types of faerie. For 69p you get access to all 10.
On capture you can either select the given name or rename them yourself.
Full version players need to catch the first three types of faerie three times to unlock the next three faerie types.
A nice feature of Faerie Planet is the ability to share the fun with friends, and even message them using the onscreen “Mysties” feature that lets you write or draw your messages straight onto the screen with your finger – no tapping away at a keyboard in the land of faeries. You can even play games like noughts & crosses with your faerie pals.
You get points every time you catch a faerie and add friends to your address book. A treasure chest tells you how much Faerie Gold you have won, with a scoreboard to encourage competition.
(A ‘local’ scoreboard that keeps track of just you and your playing friends rather than everyone in the world would be a nice future feature.)
You need to earn faerie gold to send more Mystie messages to your friends. There are in-app purchases available if you need to top up. Relax, Apple’s new parental security measures should stop kids buying extra stuff while playing games such as these. We’re not big fans of in-app purchase in children’s games but the implementation here seems safer than most.
Faeries can be frustratingly difficult to find at times, and this may try the playing patience of some children. Just remember that faeries are easier to find outdoors and in green environments to make catching them easier.
If Faerie Planet gets your little girl out exploring in the park or garden it’s certainly worth the 69p on its own!
It's so much fun even the boys will want to join in the faerie hunt.
SHOULD I BUY FAERIE PLANET?
Faerie Planet is a fun plaything for little girls, and even parents can get quite hooked snaring the flighty faeries. We liked the social nature of the messaging, and the emphasis on getting children playing and moving about outdoors rather than slouched in a chair inside.