Eric & Bruce Travel to Britain is the first in a planned series of apps for toddlers and preschoolers from Beijing- based developer Eric & Bruce Technology Ltd. Eric is a young boy and Bruce is his puppy and faithful travel companion. The app is child-friendly with no adverts or in-app purchases, website and social media links are in a locked parents area (accessed by pressing and holding). Music and sound effects can be independently turned off in the parents area. In this app they visit some of the most famous sights of Great Britain.
As the app opens Eric is slowly peddling his bike through the streets of London with Bruce following behind. The child can explore the app at their own pace, if they do nothing Bruce keeps slowly moving along, tapping on Bruce changes his mode of transport- he can also ride a horse or fly Harry Potter- style on a broomstick. Swiping forward will speed Bruce up, swiping backwards will change his direction. There are lots of hidden animations to find including: tapping on a cloud to start rain falling, traditional red pillar boxes which will spit out letters if tapped, Tower Bridge will raise to let ships pass, and touching Big Ben will cause it to strike 3 o’clock. As well as famous sights the app also features many iconic British figures such as the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson in Baker Street, and the Royal Family. The Queen will change outfits if tapped, and her royal corgis will perform tricks; the younger Royals aren’t left out either with Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Princes William and George popping up to give the Royal Wave.
There are 4 mini-games to find, each marked by a star, in each game the child plays as long as they wish, then taps the return button to get back to the rest of the app. The games are:
This is at the London Eye – Bruce and Eric both gets balloons from a balloon seller then more and more balloons float across the screen. Tapping on balloons pops them, and there is no keeping score or penalty for missing balloons.
Eric and a friend are having tea at a sidewalk table outside a Fish and Chip Shop. The child can feed them cupcakes from a never-ending supply and Bruce is waiting patiently under the table to receive any cupcakes that come his way too. It is a little confusing having them drink tea and eat cupcakes outside a Fish and Chip Shop – it would seem more logical for them to be outside a Tea Shop having tea and cakes, or eating fish and chips by the Fish and Chip Shop.
Eric and Bruce are Irish dancing with a Leprechaun, tapping them will change their dance moves. The location of this game seems a little geographically confused – they are dancing near Stonehenge and Westminster Abby, both of which are in England. Ireland is not actually part of Great Britain (although Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom), so Irish Dancing seems a little out of place in an app about Britain. If the app was instead Eric and Bruce travel to the British Isles, Ireland could be included, but then it would be nice to see Irish dancing performed in front of a famous Irish sight such as the Devil’s Causeway or Blarney Castle instead of in England.
A New Friend
Eric and Bruce have found a new friend- another dog to play with! Bruce will throw the ball and both dogs will rush to fetch it and the new friend will even dig up a bone to share with Bruce.
The app has bright, colorful cartoon-like graphics that will appeal to young children. It allows open-ended play and exploration and is easy to operate. I think toddlers and pre-schoolers will enjoy exploring it and finding the hidden interactions.
As a native Brit myself I was a little disappointed the app didn’t take the opportunity to teach children a little about the places and people in the app. I’d love to see the addition of an interactive map that you could access from anywhere in the app that would show the locations of the various sights and tell a little about them. Similarly it would be nice to have a way that children could learn who the various people are. As it is an app designed for young children this doesn’t need to be in great detail, but as part of a series of travel apps, it is a great opportunity to teach children a little about each of the places Eric & Bruce visit. Apart from Loch Ness all the other sights included are in the South of England (mainly in London) so it would be nice to also see other parts of Britain represented- maybe Caerphilly Castle, or the Severn Bridge, or Edinburgh Castle or Fountains Abbey or Hadrian’s Wall ?
Overall, Eric & Bruce visit Britain is a fun, bright, colorful, interactive app that will appeal most to toddlers and pre-schoolers. It features many famous British sights and people but I feel it misses an opportunity to teach children a little about them.
Eric & Bruce Travel To Britain
by Eric&Bruce Technology Ltd.
"There is no doubt that this app is one full of amazing images and interactive bits that will keep children entertained for hours." - BestAppsForKids
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).