Did you know that Mr. Potato Head was the first toy advertised on TV? Now the famous spud has entered the 21st century with Mr. Potato Head: Create & Play, a free app for IOS devices (reviewed on iPad here).
There are two modes of play. In dress up, your child can drag Mr. Potato Head’s mouth, eyes, appendages, and other body part and accessories to make Mr. (or Mrs.) Potato Head any way they like. Yes, they can even put arms where the eyes should go, and make him look like a Picasso Potato. When they’re all done in this mode, they can take their potato to a backdrop, like a circus or space station. Here they can make him do various poses and silly actions, and take pictures. And that’s pretty much all there is to this game.
You can buy outfits and backdrops using stars, and there are tons of selections. The game initially comes with a few stars, enough to get a couple of backdrops and outfits. To get more stars, you’ll have to buy them with real money. Which is unfortunate, but that’s the nature of free-to-play games.
It’s hard to complain about a free game, but I did notice a couple of nitpicky problems. To change body parts in dress up mode, you first have to drag the old piece to the chest, and then drag the new part on the spud. They don’t just automatically get replaced, so it was a bit cumbersome. Mr. Potato Head still has his ‘guy’ chuckles and laughing voice, even if you dress him up in Mrs. Potato Head clothes, so that was kind of weird, too. And you’d have to spend a lot of real money to buy all the parts and backgrounds. I actually reviewed a Mr. Potato Head activity center for the PC back when I was writing for The Dallas Morning News that I was hoping this app would be more akin to. Oh well.
Reading skill isn’t needed to play Mr. Potato Head: Create & Play. In fact, I’d say it’s best for kids who CAN’T read yet. In order to go to the parents’ page and buy stars, you have to enter in digits by reading them in letter form. So if your kids can read and recognize numbers, they’ll be able to bypass the block. While the game is mildly entertaining for a short while, I think a little kid would enjoy playing with a REAL Mr. Potato Head toy more. But then, I’m just old fashioned like that.