© 2019 PlayShifu
$25 for the Plugo, $25 per kit (6 total, $175)
552.8 MB, Smart Toy, iPad, iPhone, Android
Teaches: Math, counting, music, spelling, augmented reality
Tagged for: Augmented Reality
Laguages: English, Japanese, French
Good in theory, but clunky in reality, this is an AR (augmented reality) gamepad comes with a magnetic platform that folds out in front of an iOS or Android tablet. The base kit costs $25; extra add-on kits ($25/each) provide a tangible experience with building, music, counting a...
Good in theory, but clunky in reality, this is an AR (augmented reality) gamepad comes with a magnetic platform that folds out in front of an iOS or Android tablet. The base kit costs $25; extra add-on kits ($25/each) provide a tangible experience with building, music, counting and spelling by way of magnetic blocks. Link, Count and Tunes kits are available now; Letters, Catapult and Steering kits are planned. You could spend up to $175 if you buy everything. We were able to test the currently available kits. "Link" comes with a set of plastic hexagonal prisms with magnets, used to stack and connect to one another to create combined shapes, bridges and more. "Tunes" comes with a small piano keyboard; and "Count" uses a platform with three spokes and several numeral and operator rings that are placed on the spokes to create and solve math problems. Each kit uses the Plugo app. Issues began early during testing. First off, why does an app meant to teach you counting among other things have a parent lock using math problems and simple number questions, implying you won't be able to solve math problems or distinguish even and odd numbers if you aren't an adult? One of the hexagonal prisms in our link kit seemed to have a few weak or broken magnets, and the app, no matter how we tried, wouldn't recognize the Tunes' piano accessory. We considered the gamepad itself might have an issue in one of its magnets preventing recognition by the app as a similar problem cropped up in the Link's "The Piper" game, but we were sent more than one gamepad, and using the others produced the same results. The gamepad's device holder did not take well to our older iPad model, repeatedly falling over or causing neck aches from leaning forward to view the screen properly. Keep in mind you'll need to have a frame-free device -- and it's rare to find a "naked" iPad in most settings where children are around. While games operate without needing to touch the iPad, you still need to reach out to select games, levels and navigate menus, which is a clumsy process. The tactile aspect of the Plugo is without a doubt its strongest feature, so it's unfortunate there aren't extra navigation buttons on the mat to forego needing to use the screen as anything other than a screen. We had trouble installing updates for each kit on the app, and some seem to have not completed properly as we have several missing game icons, not to mention the app itself runs very sluggishly. Several games seem to be blocked behind a request to register for a mailing list. Our time spent with the Plugo was a mix of constant physical and technical hiccups that overall reduced our enjoyment of the device. It has great ideas, seemingly fun games were we able to access half of them, and more content on the way on top of that, but running into this many different inconveniences over a short period must be more than a technical fluke, and leaves us somewhat dissatisfied.