Top critical review
Fun out of the box, but did that feeling last?
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2015
Osmo is really fun to play and the initial reaction from kids is a sort of "Whoa! I want to play!" That is a great reaction to see but the question is: How long will that Whoa! feeling last? When will they tire of it? When will the novelty wear off. The answer: it depends.
I ordered one to try out and upon opening the box was very excited. Myself and a friend began with the tangrams and the first few were really fun to do, but then for some reason, we were constantly interrupted by a screen request to Center Your Pieces. They were centered, there was nothing blocking the camera and all was fine a minute before. We would move the pieces away and re-center them only to get the message again 10-15 seconds later. This went on for about five minutes and became frustrating.
Another issue with the tangram game was that pieces that were correct would light up and then go black again. We knew it was the right piece and we had to move it away, put it back, jiggle it a bit and beg the game to re-recognize it. I could see this being very frustrating for a kid.
We moved on to the Words game and at first played with just one set of letters. It was fun. It became REALLY fun when we played against each other using the two different color sets of tiles. We played a few games of Words and the first one was incredibly fun. Unfortunately, as we moved on, it became less fun because words were being repeated. We unpacked the brand new Osmo and played maybe three games of Words and had many occasions in which the words were repeated. I don't know how many words are in there but one should be able to play a lot of games before words begin repeating. It really took a lot of the fun out of it and made the purchase less worthwhile.
We tried the Newton game but had some trouble understanding what we were supposed to do. We allowed some kids to try it out and they had trouble determining where on the paper they were supposed to draw lines so they drew a line and just moved the paper. Of course that defeated the purpose of the game, but it was very messy looking because your hand imprint shows up on the paper and finding a location to draw for effectiveness was difficult and not in a fun, challenging way. They tired of the Newton game almost immediately. They did; however, have a lot of fun when they removed the reflector with Newton open and saw what looked like pencil drawings of themselves on the screen.
I think Osmo has potential but by this point should have at least several more games available. If adding pictures bloats the size of the app and they are looking to be educational, they should put definitions on the screen in text form in the Words game so they can have thousands of them in there. They have indicated they are working on something new but provide no ETA on release. The price for this is set is good but depending on your child, the novelty and fun factor may dissipate quickly.
EDITED TO ADD: I see that you are able to download additional words and pictures from the Osmo web site. That is a nice feature, but I still stand by my comment that out of the box you should not have words repeating themselves so quickly.