Well-designed case; Easy, intuitive gameplay
Screen orientation didn't switch properly; Game skins don't fit well into board; Board not responsive to pawns at times; Expensive
The GameChanger is an iPad board game that lets you play family-friendly titles with your favorite piece of tech, but it's not as seamless as it should be.
Games such as "Angry Birds" will always be popular on the iPad, but a new class of "appcessories" gives families the traditional board-game experience with the added plus of video and other interactive elements. The GameChanger is one of the first, putting the iPad in the middle of a fold-out interactive board. We were impressed when we tried this $79.99 accessory out at Toy Fair in February, but were things different when we brought the Game Changer home? Read on to find out.
Both "Animal Mania" and "Magic School Bus"--the two titles currently available--require game skins that you slip over each side of the game board. Then, each player grabs a pawn (there are four total) and places it on the board. In Animal Mania, you start in a specific habitat (sea, jungle, desert or sky), while in "Magic School Bus" everyone starts at... Start.
Both games take about a half hour to finish, and both are rated for ages 6 and up. For families with young kids, we can see how these titles could provide an entertaining and educational experience.
In addition to the two games that require game skins, the app supports games (there are five currently listed on its site) that simply use the GameChanger's touch-sensitive spaces to interact with the iPad. One such title, "Kaboom," has you fire cannons at your opponent while protecting your own towers. We found this game to be more fun than the two educational titles, and we imagine older kids would feel the same.
We were a bit worried when we saw how the different game skins sit loosely atop the GameChanger board--the games work by sensing your pawn's location on the board itself, so we wondered if they would really be able to detect our movements through the skins. Fortunately, the board detected our movements pretty well, though there were times when we had to press down our pawn repeatedly.
We did have one other major setback that interrupted our gameplay: The iPad's accelerometer did not rotate the screen to accommodate players sitting on either side of the board, which meant that we had to rotate the board to our friends if they didn't want to read the instructions upside-down. Our pawns slid off the board several times during this process.
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|Size||12 x 9.5 x 2.6 inches (when folded up)|