In this post, we’ll take a look at a really charming kids app called HABA Little Friends Dance. It doesn’t look like that on the App Store, but this game actually has a nice AR feature that I will talk about in a moment. This entertainment kids app was developed by Fox and Sheep, a developer who has lots experience in developing high-quality education and playful apps for children. I’ve visited its website and there are indeed some really good apps there, including one of my favorite kid’s apps, Little Kitten Adventures.
Make Toys Come to Life and Dance, also in AR!
Anyways, back to Little Friends Dance app. In this app, you can choose one of ten fantastic dolls (the official website mentioned 15, but I count only 10). You can customize each doll by changing the color of its clothes (shirt, pants, and shoes) and the color of its hair as well. You can also paint the entire body including the arms using a paintbrush and stamp stickers in any party of the doll’s body.
I really enjoyed this customization party. You can really go crazy with it and I had much more fun with it compared to Makeup Salon AR iOS app. The app uses a punchy saturated color palette that looks really nice on my iPad’s display. Just watching those colors made me feel invigorated.
This part of the customization doesn’t run in augmented reality, but the doll is still in 3D. You can turn it around and move it up and down. This was done to allow you to still be able to paint the doll up close and also to allow you paint it from any side. Painting a 3D model is really a fun experience, I really enjoyed doing it, regardless of it being a children’s app.
Once you are happy with the results you just tap the button at the top right corner and you move on to the music screen. If you don’t have an ARKit-powered iPhone or iPad mobile device you can still enjoy watching the doll dance in front of some beautiful colorful backgrounds of your choice. First, you need to select the soundtrack. As of the time of writing, there are a total of 5 original soundtracks for you to chose from. Once you picked up your favorite soundtrack, move to the next screen.
In the next screen, you have the option to choose the background. There are some really stunning backgrounds which beautifully complement the app’s theme. The character will dance on top of the background. The character shadows help to blend the character well with the background.
At the bottom of the screen, you have the option to choose different colors, each one is associated with a different dance move. The character will dance based the colors from the left side to right side. You can even leave on area blank, and the doll will just move its hips a bit until the next move comes into play.
That dancing part can be experienced in AR as well. In AR you also have an option to click on any point on the surface to make the character re-appear and that location. The animations are nice and smooth. It’s funny and entertaining watching the doll dance and even better seeing it coming to life in augmented reality. I have no doubt that kids will love watching this.
There are three other interactions. The first one is a camera button which allows you to snap a photo of the scene with the doll. The second interaction allows you to rotate the doll using a swipe touch gesture. The last one adds some visual effects like bubbles, confetti, hearts, and snowflakes to the scene, which is nice.
Little Friends Dance also allows you to see the doll dancing in augmented reality. You just need to press the screen button and the app will ask you to allow the app to access the camera and you can start to experience the app in AR.
The AR experience is fun but kind of empty. You only get to see the doll dancing and it’s not interactive like a virtual pet Simulation app. The non-AR version was more exciting due to the stunning photo-realistic backgrounds.
You can clearly see that the AR is definitely not the main thing of the app but a side feature. The AR experience still felt lively and playful due to the great animations, the customized look, and the great rhythmic soundtracks.
Little Friends Dance is a well-made entertaining children’s app. I especially liked the positive and invigorating effect that the cheerful colors bring. The experience as a whole is very playful, charming and captivating.
When you look at it, there aren’t many things happening on the screen. The same thing can be said on pages of a children’s book, but it doesn’t make it feel less compelling for kids. In fact, the simplicity is very important here. This app can provide inspiration, curiosity, and imagination. It helps provide parents with a better bond with the children.
Regardless of the fact that I am an adult, I still have not lost the ability to feel the same things that cause any person, child or adult to get excited with. Furthermore, I can still create a connection and interest to certain elements that this application conveys. Of course, children can feel certain things in a more prominent way when we adults are already accustomed to them and are looking for new thrills to excite us. Still, I still enjoy looking at vibrant visuals, enjoy smooth high-frame rate animations, watching playful 3D characters moving, and listening to a great music—this game as nailed most of it right and this is why the entire experience work well and entertains the viewer.
The AR wasn’t as exciting as I expect it to be, but as I said it’s a side feature. I do give weight to the AR aspect of the game, because this is an AR-related site after all, and I want to make sure that this is represented in my review.
Overall, HABA Little Friends Dance is a great app that I’m sure kids will love toying around. It also comes with nice but not so compelling AR mode.Having said that, I’m positive that kids will love seeing their custom doll coming to life in the real world, so it is a nice complementary feature.