If you know small children, you'll know Peppa, George and the family. And Peppa Pig - Happy Mrs Chicken is the first official Peppa Pig game app for Android phones and tablets, being a port of the Peppa Pig app already popular on Apple iPhone and iPad. Peppa Pig - Happy Mrs Chicken comprises four interactive games and a virtual 'sticker book'. By completing challenges in the games, you win stickers for your book. We tested the Peppa Pig app on an Android-running Motorola Motoluxe.
Right from the start you are on familiar territory. As an official Peppa Pig game, Peppa Pig - Happy Mrs Chicken contains the same standard of animation, with the right voices that your children will be expecting. If they like the cartoon, they'll feel at home with the app. The music and sound effects are all recognisably Peppa. See also: Best Android apps.
The opening splash screen introduces Peppa, George and their parents, in much the same way as the TV programme does. Fail to press play and you will be treated to the comforting chorus of oinks so beloved of Peppa fans (and beautifully mimmicked by my nephew, among others). But 'Play' is where it is at, 'it', in this case, being the four games and the sticker book. See also: Best iPhone apps.
The familiar narrator explains what is going on and what to do, but in our experience children don't need asking twice, or even once: navigation is simple and touch-enabled. On every page a small door icon is the exit to take you back one step. (One word of advice, however, encourage your kids to select a game reasonably quickly, or face death by Peppa theme. Nice music: but it gets a little annoying.)
Happy Mrs Chicken, the game that gave the app its name, is based on a Nintendo DS mini-game of the same name. For Peppa afficionados, it purports to be the game that Peppa plays in the TV series. And it is staggeringly simple: you make Happy Mrs Chicken lay eggs by touching her, the eggs then hatch into chicks and scurry to either side of the screen. Do this 100 times for a sticker.
It's incredibly repetitive, which is not necessarily a bad thing in a game for very young children, although I have yet to meet a child who could focus for the time required to hatch 100 eggs and get that sticker. I suspect that many parents will end up with repetitive strain syndrome acquiring stickers for bored children. Either way, this game will hold the attention of only very young children, and only for a short length of time.
Peppa Pig app: Seed and Maze
Seed and Maze is more challenging, although still appropriate for teenies. It's a maze-style game in which you must a seed trail to guide chicks home through a variety of six puzzles. The mazes get progressively harder, and every time you complete a level you get to shake up a seed box, and scatter food to attract more chickens, which is fun. Again, the effort required to get a sticker seems inappropriately large, although guiding 20 chickens through a maze is a lot less strenuous that hatching 100 chicks (not a sentence one is able to write too often).
I don't know any smallies who like leading chickens through mazes, but I know of no small child who is averse to jumping in muddy puddles. Happily, this is the aim of the game known as, er, Muddy Puddles. You play as Peppa or George against one of their friends, aiming to be the first to jump in as many muddy puddles as possible. The clock ticks down as you splash away, adding an element of competitive tension sadly lacking in Happy Mrs Chicken [you may be taking this too seriously - ed.]. The winner gets a sticker.
For children slightly beyond the ultra simple Happy Mrs Chicken this game should prove to be a favourite - the touch enabled navigation is simple but satisfying. You point you character to a puddle, then press repeatedly to make them jump up and down. Best of all, the pigs are wearing wellies, giving every parent valuable ammunition in the appropriate-footwear-before-leaving-the-house battle that wages in many households.
The final game is Chicken Coop, in which a sticker will cost you the effort required to send 20 chicks to their correct homes, each home being the same colour. Oh, and it's against the clock. Again, interaction is simple, requiring your child only to drag and drop chicks in their respective coops, but it's far from easy for the littlest little ones - the clock ticks down quickly and chicks left unattended soon drift off in search of fun elsewhere.
The virtual sticker book is fun, allowing you to place stickers of your favourite characters in six different and familiar Peppa scenes.
Sticker Book: fish bowl earned by your author
Peppa Pig - Happy Mrs Chicken will be a hit with children who are fans of the TV series, and is probably worth the £1.99 asking fee. Catch them young enough and they'll be able to develop through the levels, too. But don't expect your children to remain hooked on this app as long as they will the telly show. The games are possibly too simple and repetitive, and some require too much effort to get a sticker.