Toca Boca has thus far shown a real knack for creating apps that appeal to the wee ones and parents alike, which is no small feat if you take a gander at the sheer volume of thrown-out titles vying for your dollar nowadays. The company’s latest app is Toca Doctor — a quirky, medical-themed collection of mini-games for youngsters.
Much like Toca Tea Party before it, Toca Doctor shines through its intuitive interface with easily understandable, low-key activities. There’s no pressure in any of the mini-games, and better yet, no way for kids to lose. If one game is a bit too hard or unappealing for a child, they can easily hop back to another one without penalty — you never feel stuck!
Toca Doctor’s set up is simple. On the screen stands a rather androgynous-looking patient and a cute little floating robot doctor. Tap on the doc, and he’ll ‘examine’ the patient. The exam randomly highlights areas of the patient’s body with circles, and each circle has its own little mini-game based on healing that part of the body. If the mouth is circled, for instance, the mini-game tasks you with tapping on jumping germs in the patient’s mouth. If it’s on the tummy, you have to guide indeterminate circles through the maze from the patient’s stomach to their mouth.
There are quite a few maze and “insert-object” style puzzles like this included (which kids will love), and they all can be solved by guiding objects around the screen with your finger, or using tilt controls to physically “shake” foreign objects out. These dual control methods are perfect for accommodating kids of varying skill levels, and are executed thoughtfully in-game. Beyond completing mazes and picking out hair lice, there are also a variety of shape-matching games as well.
Toca Doctor offers 18 different games spanning several puzzle styles, and there are never any time limits or set rules to how kids play with the screen. The artwork is simplistic, but charming; meaning that when the game deals with potentially unsightly medical conditions, it’s all done in a cute and disarming way. If there’s a significant complaint, it’s the fact that the puzzles never vary — even the mazes and object locations never change from game to game.
Even though these shortcomings probably won’t bother children half as much as it will adults, the option to change things up once children have mastered the mini-games would be appreciated. Another caveat is that Toca Doctor comes in two separate flavors: iPhone and iPad (not one universal app). Beyond those two glaring issues, however, this is another charming title from Toca Boca that’s sure to appeal to boys and girls under five.