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Chuck The Truck needs fine tuning

It’s no secret that Chuck The Truck is a favorite toy for the under age 5 crowd. Naturally an app built around this popular item seems to be a winning endeavor. Yet the iPad app “Chuck and Friends: Friends for the Long Haul”, a collaboration between Hasbro and Ruckus Media Group, falls short of being great. Although many of its parts are noteworthy, the sum total falls short.

Technical glitches occurred on numerous occasions when engaged in a particular interactive game requiring the reader to wipe the screen clean to reveal hidden letters. More often than not, the app got stuck on the last letter frustrating this reviewer as well as my 4 year old assistant tester. “Daddy, is it broken?” asked my little boy. “No son” I replied, “just a software bug needing to be fixed.” “There’s a bug in your iPad? How’d he get in there?” And so began an unplanned yet informative discussion about software glitches.

Other troubling aspects were the style of narration of the story and the volume of the actor. Although the child actor gives an energetic performance, his delivery remains the same for just about every character. Similar to Diego from Nickolodeon’s “Go Diego Go!”, the actor shouts his lines all of the time. My son inquired why he was speaking so loudly. I told him that Chuck and his friends work every day on construction sites which means everyone has to speak louder to be heard. He understood and added that they might need to have their hearing checked from all that noise. Realistically, these issues could have been avoided by a better Director. Another option would have been to hire more actors to play each of the roles.

On the plus side, the art work is top notch. Vibrantly drawn colorful images populate each and every screen. The video cut scenes are fun to watch and offer the reader an enhanced experience. I’d recommend to Hasbro and Ruckus Media group to include more of these scenes in the next Chuck The Truck app release. Also noteworthy are the interactive matching games as well as the “wipe clean” word discovery games.

Additionally, the ability to record one’s own voice to narrate the story will endlessly delight children. If you possess a silly bone (and I do), you can engage in an infinite amount of dramatic interpretations for each recording. English accent? No problem. Story read by The Godfather? Why not? You get the point. Arguably one of the best features of the app since it provides replay value.

Overall: B-

Pros: The title brings Chuck and his Friends to life on the iPad. Voice recording offers replay value. Interactive games are engaging.

Cons: Gratingly loud and monotonous voice acting. A few software bugs in the gameplay. Not enough video cut scenes.

View the promotional video for “Chuck and Friends: Friends for the long Haul”