“Why yes, small children, please enter my kitchen and explore my appliances thoroughly, especially while I am cooking food!” Have you ever spoken these words aloud? Yeah, neither have I. The thought of my two young kids being within a mile of the kitchen while I’m cooking makes me want to order pizza for the next 10 years.
Mini-U: The Kitchen lets little players explore the kitchen – safely. It’s a collection of 6 mini-games that center around different (virtual) appliances, and the games help teach early learning while offering intuitive game play. Retro graphics add a fun and unique twist to the games, and adorable sound effects keep kids engaged.
The six mini-games are represented on the home screen by doodles of appliances. My favorite mini-game – Morning Tunes – lets players make up their own music by tapping on different items commonly found on a kitchen which each contribute their own beat (the cat meows, the frying pan sizzles). Product Sorter helps identify edible and non-edible items, or find food to make a meal in Breakfast Composer.
There’s also Italian Chef in which players identify pasta by shape and Fridge Operator helps match food items with their shadows inside the fridge. The only game I had an issue with was Cocktail Maker in which players have to blend different items to product a drink of a certain color. Considering the target audience is kids ages 3-7 I don’t know how appropriate it is to have the word “cocktail” in the game. Perhaps in future updates the mini-game can be changed to depict a smoothie making challenge.
My kids are 3 and 6 and both really enjoy this game. A girl after my own heart, my daughter can make endless combinations in Morning Tunes without getting easily bored. Ironically my oldest loves the Cocktail Maker game (he doesn’t know what a cocktail is – he actually thought he was creating smoothies and I didn’t correct him). He loves figuring out the right color combinations to create the the specified color of the drink.
Mini-U: The Kitchen costs $1.99 to download, which is a fair price for a game like this. Game play is intuitive, the graphics are fresh and retro-fun, and the games help teach skills like color and shape identification and encourage creative, open-ended play. And it keeps the kids out of the kitchen for a while – who doesn’t love that?
– Cool, retro graphics are bright and appealing
– Intuitive game play is fun and engaging
– Mini-games teach important early learning skills
– There is some content that isn’t age-appropriate