A restaurant is not the usual place you’d expect to see a Panda, but Bubby D is unperturbed by this.
Finding the newly installed ‘Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2’ awaiting her on the iPad, she was keen to get started and see what it was all about. Unfortunately, it’s taken me a while to see what it’s all about because she loves it so much I haven’t been able to have much of a play around with it myself!
It’s advertised as being an app which allows children to create their own recipes from over 20 ingredients, and then serve them up to the restaurant customers to see their reaction. Usually, when the kids are busy with an app I can get an idea of what is going in the game by listening to the instructions and comments being issued by the characters – but I soon realised that for Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2 this isn’t an option because the characters don’t actually speak and there are no spoken instructions either!
Instead, everything is indicated using body language and facial expressions, or pictorial references. This took Bubby D a little while to get the hang of initially, as she wasn’t quite sure what she was meant to be doing. But the app is very intuitive, and in no time at all she was happily grating a piece of salmon, adding a splash of lemon juice and rather a lot of chilli (she discovered that feeding customers spicy dishes makes them breathe out fire which she finds hilarious) before serving up her creation on a bed of freshly boiled pasta to a patiently waiting hippo. She loves experimenting with using all the different appliances and seeing which ingredients do what – for example, oven cooking an egg or watching a pizza rise ready to be sliced.
Unlike a lot of other apps, there are no time limits, points to collect, or scores. You simply keep on cooking until you’ve had enough (or in Bubby D’s case, until I tell her it’s time to put the iPad down!).
As a parent, I like the fact that there is the option to turn off the music or the sounds and the app is still very playable thanks to the non-verbal way it operates. I’ve noticed there’s also a vegetarian mode, which we don’t use but is useful to know for anyone who would prefer their children to only partake in vegetarian cooking.
This is a great app for preschoolers and definitely a lot of fun to play. It gets a big thumbs up from us 🙂