Town Mu­si­cians of Bremen

Great art, not so great app

Mac|Life - - CONTENTS - Car­rie Mar­shall

$0.99 From Al­bert Frischmann Con­sult­ing,­mer/en/home Made for iPad Needs iPad, iOS 9 or later I re­ally wanted my chil­dren to love this, be­cause it’s a work of art — or rather, lots of works of art. Lev Ka­plan’s beau­ti­ful il­lus­tra­tions, more than 1,000 hours in the mak­ing, are brought to life with the help of pro­fes­sional voiceovers, 800 an­i­ma­tions and more than 120 sounds. But nei­ther my four-year-old nor my 10-year-old liked it. My son prod­ded the in­ter­ac­tive bits then de­manded YouTube Kids; his big sis­ter ad­mired the artistry, for seven min­utes. “It’s pretty,” she said. “But it’s pretty bor­ing.”

The prob­lem isn’t the app, or the artistry, and it’s not that my kids are philistines ei­ther. It’s the de­liv­ery. Grimm’s ver­sion of the fa­mous fairy tale, a story that dates back to the twelfth cen­tury, is pre­sented rev­er­ently. That’s rather plod­ding for a gen­er­a­tion raised on Nosy Crow and Toca Boca.

The trans­la­tion is clunky too, with ba­sic er­rors and a ten­dency to trans­late lit­er­ally. “I am go­ing to Bremen to be­come town mu­si­cian,” one char­ac­ter de­clares; later, the same char­ac­ter de­scribes a ta­ble with “rob­bers sit­ting at it and mak­ing them­selves a good time.”

It re­minded me of in­ter­ac­tive CDROMs from the days of Macro­me­dia Direc­tor, where pre­vi­ously static ti­tles would be ren­dered mag­i­cally in­ter­ac­tive with the ad­di­tion of a few things you could click on to make them jig­gle. That ap­proach feels even more dated than the an­cient fairy tale it’s try­ing to il­lu­mi­nate.

the bot­tom line. The art­work is beau­ti­ful but the app has been lost in trans­la­tion.

It’s a shame that the story doesn’t live up to the ex­tra­or­di­nary art­work.

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