February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

An “Old Man’s Journey” | Touch and Go

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Here’s an app that will keep students’ reasoning and strategy skills sharp over the summer.

Screen from Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules Interactive Media GmbH)

The cozy house overlooking the ocean is the perfect place to retire, but when an elderly gent receives a mysterious letter, he slings a pack onto his back and leaves without a backward glance. Where is he going and why? It’s viewers’ job to guide the Old Man’s Journey (by Felix Bohatsch, Broken Rules Interactive Media GmbH, iOS; Android, both $4.99; Gr 2 Up) through a beautifully constructed, mostly rural landscape with intriguing places to rest along the way. At the resting spots, the man remembers vivid scenes from the past that provide possible insights into the purpose of his journey.

Guiding the character’s path is a complex venture, and in every scene there are unsuccessful routes to avoid as well as animal and physical barriers to overcome. Managing to do so by trial and error can take time. Some users may find that while navigation can be initially challenging, eventually strategies for thinking through each route without sending the Old Man down too many waterfalls should kick in; if not, there’s online help. There’s pleasant music and a few sound effects that can be turned off within the app. Tapping the upper left corner opens a screen displaying completed levels and measures users’ progress through the game.

Younger children, who aren’t likely to be uninterested in nostalgia, regret, and the reasons for the journey, will be thoroughly engaged in gaming and determined to progress through each level. Those closer in age to the main character will keep their brains agile by solving the puzzles and piecing together a complex life story. VERDICT The beautiful design, introspective story line, and addictive nature of the game will have a variety of users returning again and again to this app.—Chris Gustafson, Richmond Japanese Immersion Elementary School, Portland Public Schools

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.

Curriculum Connections

This article was featured in our free Curriculum Connections enewsletter.
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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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