★★★ Open House ★★★
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Stack the States 2
© 2016 Freecloud Design, Inc.

CTR Review
Rating: 98%
Ease of Use
Design Features
Reviewed using the Standard Rubric
For ages 7-up
For grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, S, Jr, Sr.
$2.99, iPad, iPhone, 260 MB
Teaches: US geography, social studies, spatial relations, state capitals, state shapes, maps
Tagged for: All Time Best, Geography, WOSU, Classic, Road Trip
A good app gets better, with this major upgrade Stack the States, from Dan Russell-Pinson. Version 2 has new and better games, content that you can unlock with work, and six player profiles so you can save/bookmark your progress. There's also a guest mode in case you want to jump directly to the later games. There are no in-app sales, gimmicks sponsored content.

Other nice touches include more control over the actual state stacking (so you spend more time earning states and solving problems), a text-to-speech feature that reads the text out loud, and lots of visual surprises, including pesky birds that tend to land on your states while you're lining them up for a drop. It's fun to try to squish them (don't worry, they always fly away).

There's also a lot of new content since the first version. You can zoom in for a 3D view a state, for details on key cities, landmarks, and the topography.

There are four modes of play. In Stack the States, you are first given multiple-choice questions that requires reading, such as "Which state borders the great lakes?" You get four options. If you choose correctly, you get to drop the state on a platform, to try to build a tower. When the tower gets high enough, you earn the state, as a token of achievement. Other games include MapIt! (tap the correct location on a US map of the requested state... three strikes and you're out); Capital Tap not only quizzes you on which capital goes with which state, but it asks you to locate where the capital is located in that state. This is the first time we've ever seen this feature in an app. The closer your tap to the correct location, the more points you score. Finally, Connect 2 is a timed puzzles that asks you slide two bordering states into correct position. You get 60 seconds.

We'd like a background music mute button on the main menu, and a more obvious "jump back" to the main Stack the States game, but these are minor points. Stack the States has always been our first choice for US geography facts practice. Version 2.0 keeps it on the top of the stack. Need to know: If you want to unlock all the games, play in Guest mode.
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