Yesterday I’ve downloaded the app AR Kitten for Merge Cube. My niece came to visit and she told me that she wants to play with Merge Cube. She wanted to play 57° North but I’ve decided to download other apps so she can try something new.
What is AR Kitten?
AR Kitten is a virtual pet app for the Merge Cube. In this app, you can choose a kitten, pet, feed and play with it, earn coins and gems and use it to unlock custom outfits that will make your cat look super cute and really cool. You can also change the look of the cube that the kitten is hanging on, which is the Merge Cube itself.
This was actually a good app to let my niece play. I really wanted to hear what she thinks about it, see if she enjoys it.
Playing AR Kitten for the first time
When I launched the app I was the first to hold the cube and interact with the cat. First of all, it was a fantastic moment seeing the kitten holding onto the cube and looking into your eyes. That moment we both laughed. My niece even tried to pet it where the cube was located, but obviously, the app doesn’t recognize the petting hand gesture and therefore nothing happened. All the interaction are done via the screen. By the way, I was using my iPad device to review this app.
We first tried playing some games. Playing gems can earn you gems. Petting your kitten and showing him love will give you bonus points. The app features three different mini-games: Mouse catcher (move the cube and capture mice), In the Sky with Diamonds (collect falling diamonds from the sky using the cube) and Color Cube Blitz (a color matching game, rotating the cube to match the border color). All the three games are very simple and fit the target audience that this app is aimed for, although I found them to be quite boring.
A few moments later I let my niece play it to see what she think of it. After like 30 seconds she told me that it’s boring and she wants to play another app. In my opinion, you don’t need to be a child to understand that those mini-games, aren’t that exciting. Most of them including the petting is done with a virtual background and with the cube used as a controller. I have nothing against it, it’s nice using the Merge Cube as a controller in some apps, but this is not the main reason I bought the Merge Cube for. I actually enjoyed seeing the kitten hanging on the cube then playing those mini-games.
I had experienced a very annoying thing when using this app. I found out that it happens that the Merge Cube app loses tracking of the cube. It happened more frequently than in other apps that I’ve tried. I think the main reason for that is that the interaction requires or invites some frequent rotation of the cube. Now, when the marks on the cube are not in front of the camera or blocked by your hand, the virtual 3D models are no longer visible on the cube and you just see the physical cube itself.
Let me give you an example. The petting part is done with a virtual hand that is controlled using the Merge Cube. The virtual hand is facing forward towards the kitten. Now, what I tried to do is obviously match the hand’s rotation with the way I hold the Merge Cube. The problem is that by holding it this way, I blocked the marks on the cube which are required for tracking. A moment later I figured out the problem and hold it at the edge.
The same was with the kitten. I wanted to rotate the cube so I can see the kitten from all direction, but that lead to the same problem.
I think that AR Kitten is a decent app for little kids at around the 4-5 age group (the age is ranked 4+ in the app store). However, I found a pet simulator to be a less attractive app for the Merge Cube. You just can’t compare it to other pet simulator apps like AR Dragon, Follow Me Dragon, Miaow, Fiete Cats AR, or Cattery where the pet can actually move around the environment.
This can be a nice app to teach children about pets and let them naturally enjoy their company and not be afraid of them. It’s actually one of the better use I found for this app.
Overall, if you are searching for a kid-friendly app for your kids, you can try it out. For us, the fun factor didn’t last more than the first 20 minutes we played with it, After that, it becomes repetitive and predictable and doing all those simple tasks and tedious mini-games just to be able to customize your kitten doesn’t justify it. Having said that I, still think it’s worth a try. It’s a fun way to surprise your kids and have some fun during the weekend, other than that, there are better virtual pet AR games out there, but not for the Merge Cube.
Download AR Kitten for Merge Cube from the App Store here.