App of the Week - Gone Wishing
By Matthew McDonnell
The Fi Productions team combined a classic coming of age tale with outstanding graphics, whimsical humor, an impressive level of interactivity, and a dash of magic to create Gone Wishing, one of the best book apps currently available.
The story begins by explaining the process of wish granting against the nighttime backdrop of a wishing fountain on a quiet street. When people make wishes by throwing coins in fountains, blowing out candles, or breaking wishbones, it is the job of Best Wishes, a wish fulfillment company located under the fountain, to collect all the wishes and make them come true.
The book takes you into Best Wishes, where the reader is given a behind the scenes look at the process of wish granting. Best Wishes employs a diverse work force, including fairies, leprechauns, genies and even some creatures you’ve never before encountered. One of the Genies, Mortimer, is the leader of Best Wishes, and at the celebration of his 700th birthday he announces his retirement.
Best Wishes is presumably an old and venerable institution with patrilineal succession. Mortimer’s son, Jacob, is the heir apparent, but there is just one problem: he can’t grant wishes. Jacob has held all sorts of odd jobs within Best Wishes, purposely avoiding his wish granting duties in order to hide the fact that he lacks the capacity to follow in his father’s footsteps. Further complicating Jacob’s situation is the fact that Mortimer intends to disown his genie son if Jacob does not replace him.
In order to replace his father, Jacob must pass the test of seven wishes. The rest of the book covers Jacob’s quest to pass the test along with a little help from his magical friends Basil, a leprechaun, and Pru, a fairy. Even Mortimer, at first a brusque and distant character, later lends a hand.
The story however, is primarily a vehicle for delivering an outstanding user experience. The first time you use this app, you’ll be wowed by the graphics. The illustrations are rich and have greater depth than many book apps which purport to provide a 3D experience. The app conveys a feeling of warmth made possible by ethereal flourishes, unfamiliar hues that bleed almost imperceptibly into one another, and fuzzy boundaries between objects. It’s a perfect technique to make you feel as if you’re actually inside the magical company.
And for those that are experiencing fantasy overload given the recent spate of fiction in this genre, Gone Wishing manages to stand out as original without being inaccessible. It does so by creating a magical world that is not confined to a particular kind of creature, such as vampires, or a wizard, but rather presents an ecosystem of creatures both familiar and new.
The single most impressive aspect of the app however, is the remarkably high level of interactivity on each page. As an adult that spends lots of time reviewing book apps, it’s very rare to pick one up for a third time and discover something new – a testament to the depth of this app. And it’s this depth that transforms this book from a static story into a dynamic reading experience where a child’s imagination can run free – even after multiple uses.
The many features are seamlessly integrated and never feel trite, whether you’re smashing bugs, wielding a magic wand, or opening the rather impressive vault of wishes. There’s even a wonderful feature at the end of the book that allows the user to create their own wish to share with family members, a favorite character, or other Gone Wishing readers all over the world.
This app is sure to delight almost any user and would be an excellent book for parents and children to enjoy together.
Gone Wishing is recommended for kids (Ages 5 to 9) for a delightful elementary level story line and fantastic graphics. Find screenshots, reviews and family-friendly ratings for Gone Wishing and more of the best iPad apps at Famigo.com.
Publisher: Fi Productions
App Category: Books
Compatibility: iPad (iOS 3.2 or later)
Famigo Family Rating: 5 out of 5 stars