I was contacted by the developers at Fancy Pants Global and asked to review their new app, Maximus Musicus. Maximus Musicus is a children’s book series created by members of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra with the intent to introduce children to classical music. Some of the Maximus stories are intended to be produced by a full symphonic orchestra, a narrator, and silent actor playing the part of Maximus. While the orchestra plays, illustrations from the books are projected onstage. Sadly, the Maximus books are not yet for sale in the United States.
The Maximus Musicus app features several different activities for children of differing ages. One activity requires the user to steer Maximus to good cheese, while avoiding bad cheese. Another activity requires the user to match the sound of an instrument with the instrument. Other activites include a variety of instruments and the ability to play those instruments or to play a “simon says” type game. There is also a jigsaw puzzle activity.
This is a cute game, and it currently selling for $.99 on the App Store. At the same time, it may be a hard sell in the United States, as the Maximus books are not available, and if people don’t know who Maximus is, they probably won’t give the app much more than a cursory look. Additionally, the app has no real story line–only general activities–and the activities aren’t geared towards a specific age. I was interested in the app because I have a two-year old son, and I look for ways to expose him to classical music. Many parts of this app would be too frustrating or confusing for him (the “simon says” games move very quickly and are hard to follow).
I encouraged the app developers to create an interactive Maximus book application, much like Callaway’s “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book.” We’d buy those interactive books, and we’d buy the real books if they show up in our bookstores (in English). At any rate, $.99 is certainly fair pricing for a cute app, even if you don’t know who Maximus Musicus is.