Millie is back looking for the key that will access a treasure trove of limitless bacon.
As you may have gathered by the title, this app is an interactive book which makes up part two of a yet to be completed series. Children will get to know Millie and her superpowers better as they traverse sky, sea, and land all the time being wary of Pirates, Piranhas, and a devilish cat who is also on a adventure for the beloved bacon.
As with Book 1 the format and general procession of the book remains intact. This allows a continuity that children and parents alike will welcome. Book 1, Meet Millie, introduced the adorable little dog as a short story sample of what to expect. Book 2, Millie And The Lost Key, builds on that by telling the continuation of Millie’s incredible story across 22 lovely pages with exceptional interaction and storytelling. The story will throughly engross any child’s imagination. Whilst there are underlying links between Book 1 and Book 2 there is no exact link in the story line that requires parents to pick them up in chronological order.
As with Book 1, stickers and badges are available for collection as a form of reward for a child’s achievements.
Sitting down and watching my children travel to far off lands, in the ultimate search for the ominous key to the treasure trove of bacon, was pure delight. They were excited to fly Millie in a airplane, choose a specific route to travel, and traverse the mysterious island whilst watching a rainbow form in the sky. The children were also excited when having to fend off Pirates, Piranhas, and Parrots. Nothing could have prepared them for the purest enjoyment of helping Millie escape on a wild horse which is set beautifully in a scene of a Merry-Go-Round.
Let’s not forget the pesky cat who swooped in and took away the sacred key to the treasure of bacon. The corresponding mini-game was the pinnacle of this interactive book in the form of a pure game element.
Follow That Cat! was addictive and challenging. Your aim is to achieve the highest score possible by sniffing out the paw prints of the cat whilst missing the puddles of water. Pick up some bacon on the journey and you will get a small energy boost making Millie increase in speed. This game could be an app on it’s own. It’s that entertaining.
The entertainment and excitement were let down by a couple of areas. There were minor continuity errors in the story and two of the mini-games were a significant disappointment given the entertainment value of Follow That Cat!
The first error in the story line consists of a mini-game where children will fly Millie to a mysterious island. Strangely, you fly and arrive on the island before mapping out your journey which comes on the following page.
The second error in the story line is again on the mysterious island. The narration tells us that Millie is on a dark and mysterious island with the assumption of being in the jungle and that few explorers had been there before her. Whilst there is a very minor jungle theme, it does not excuse the fact that the key scenes of this island are in a modern society setting with plenty of people.
The two mini-games which were disappointments were flying to the mysterious island and helping Millie swim through the ocean. On their own they are perfectly adequate, and disappointment only developed in direct comparison to the Follow That Cat! mini-game. Children simply tilt the iPad back and forth to make Millie in both circumstances navigate throughout the scene. There is no point in these as they are endless repetitions of a single background which passes by. No skill is required to miss flying birds or Piranhas as running into them will have no effect.
Despite the disappointment, these areas do not in any way diminish my overall opinion of the interactive book. It is still exceptional and pushes the limits of what has previously been released for the younger generations.
The options for parents and children are very straightforward and remain constant from book one to book two.
Word highlighting is a built in feature which can be turned off upon request, as can the background music and overall volume in the app. The help menu is laid out simply and clearly identifies all you will need to know when navigating through the story line.
Read It To Me will simply narrate the book whilst allowing you to interact with finding stickers and playing the mini games.
Read It To Myself allows the parent to read the book to the child, or if their reading skills are developed the child will then be able to read the story themselves. All interactive games are also available in this option.
The final mode available is Bedtime Mode which reduces the brightness of the display, the volume of background music, and effects, along with the narration. Bedtime mode allows you to select either the Read It To Me or the Read It Myself version of the interactive book and the mini games are passed over when Bedtime Mode is activated. Whilst mini games are disabled in bedtime mode, interaction is still needed to manually turn the pages. Hence, as a parent you will need to be sitting and reading this story to your children.
The app developer is also donating a portion of sales from Millie And The Lost Key to www.petfinder.com, which is lovely gesture and one which will allow children to be proud of their contribution.
Despite the the lack in auto page turning for Bedtime Mode, a slight deviation from the story, and a couple of interactive games which could use a little more polish, this interactive Book 2, Millie & The Lost Key is a fantastic addition to any child’s app library. Therefore I will be awarding this title a My Mac rating of 8 out of a possible 10.