May 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Gotham’s Most Wanted | Touch and Go

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Cross-media branding? As our reviewer Mark Richardson notes, it’s not unusual. But is it successful in this instance? Find out below.

It’s a strange world when a comic book company decides to make animated movies and apps based on a successful toy, but that is what DC comics decided to do with it’s “Batman Unlimited” series. In the story app Batman Unlimited—Gotham City’s Most Wanted (StoryToys Entertainment Limited; iOS, Free, $1.99, IAP), the superhero must investigate why three of his partners were seen stealing important artifacts. Through detective games, racing, and the use of some hover bombs, Batman and his team solve the mystery and face off with the villain by the story’s end. The games are mildly amusing and sometimes even challenging, yet there is no threat for players if they fail to make it through one of them. Younger elementary age kids are likely to enjoy working through the various puzzles and story line.

Viewers can choose to listen to the narrated story or read it themselves. The narrator presents an appropriately serious tone throughout and four languages options are available: English, German, French, and Spanish. Users can navigate from frame to frame via a progress bar near the bottom of the screen. The animation matches the toy and animated film visuals, yet the characters do not move in the app. What counts as movement is when the characters disappear and reappear in a different pose in the same screen; it’s a bit of a disappointment. The overall navigation is simple— an arrow moves the story forward.  If viewers want to skip chapters, they will be reminded that they haven’t finished the story, and be forced to go back.

The educational value of the app is limited. Kids get to read a story about their favorite characters and the games are somewhat entertaining, but ultimately, the app is designed to further the brand awareness (and sell more toys). While this may not be unusual, books serve the same purpose. VERDICT Savvy parents will be aware of the limited value beyond brand appeal and make their decisions accordingly.—Mark Richardson, Cedar Mill Community Library, Portland, OR

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



Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek 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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