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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

App of the Week – Sprinkle

The first time you open Sprinkle you will immediately be struck by the kitschy soundtrack that’s suggests futuristic lo-fi pop music. This is all meant as a compliment, as the oddly endearing music is an especially enjoyable aspect of this app. You will also notice some strange looking aliens splashing water, and a surprisingly archaic fire truck.

The secret to orienting yourself within this game is to click the movie icon. The film sets the wry, playful tone of the game. It opens with a panoramic view of modest wooden huts on what one imagines is a moon orbiting Saturn or another ringed planet. The peaceful scene fades to an image of portly, unfashionable space tourists snapping photos as they pass by various planets.

The video, like the game itself, is fleshed out through subtle details such as an “I Love Mars” mug rendered in the classic “I Heart NY” style, or the impossibly dilapidated “Space Winnebago” that carries these tourists throughout the solar system. Disaster strikes as the shuttle passes through the rings of Saturn and sets off a meteor shower that bombards the idyllic planet from the first scene. As the film closes, you see a burnt landscape and the silhouette of the oddly low-tech fire truck being assembled next to some rickety scaffolding that implies both it and the truck were built with haste.

The game itself is physics-based and you play the part of the fire hose operator, attempting to put out the fires started by falling meteors before they destroy the wooden huts of the planet’s blue inhabitants.

The game itself provides an excellent range of progressively more difficult challenges as the fires get harder and harder to put out. You can play a level as many times as you like and harder levels are unlocked as easier ones are mastered. But beware, you have a fixed amount of water in your truck so a bit of strategy is in order. You’ll have to use the water stream to move blocks, turn windmills, and even balance some scales in order to direct the water to the various fires on each level.  Plus, the amount of water you have left in the truck’s tank after putting out all the fires determines your score.

The controls are remarkably responsive given the simplicity of the game, and it’s almost uncanny how well the developers captured complex fluid dynamics that feel surprisingly real and occasionally frustrating.

This game has no shortage of social networking options, which are accessible through the home menu, but that’s more or less its only shortcoming. Ultimately, Sprinkle is a remarkably fun and wholesome physics-based game that has enough content to keep an entire family busy for the long haul. It’s one of our favorites and it’s likely to be one of yours too.

Sprinkle is recommended for Kids, Tweens, Teens, and Parents (Ages 5 and up) for endearing characters, good challenge range, and universal fun. Find screenshots, reviews and family-friendly ratings for Murky Reef and more of the best Android apps at Famigo.com.

Developer: Mediocre AB

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (iOS 4.0 or later) and Android devices (2.3 and up)
 
App Category: Games

Price: Free to $1.99 depending on version

Famigo Family Rating: 5 out of 5 stars



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