/ Monday, May 20th, 2013

The end of June is always so exciting to me…  it marks the end of another school year, sure, but even more significantly: it marks the opening of the Disney animated summer movie!

MUSBD_iPad_EN_01This year, Monsters University promises to bring a smile and laugh to the start of the summer season.  I’ve been watching the previews, looking at the promotional materials in the movie theater, and admiring the merchandise in the Disney Store…. and now, Disney Publishing has given my children and me a way to truly experience the merriment, even before the movie is released!

In Monsters University Storybook Deluxe, Sulley, Mike, and the gang grow before our eyes and engage in hilarity and mischief in their college days. The story of Monsters University is read (with the text also shown) to those viewing it, with vivid and interactive graphics.  With the simple tap of a finger, characters on the page move and interact, making the experience engaging, and not simply the passive act of listening to a story being read.MUSBD_iPad_EN_03

More than your basic ebook, this is truly a DELUXE experience, as those who purchase the app have access to more than simply the Monsters University story; they are able to experience and play other entertaining activities and games.

The first activity the app introduces is the highly entertaining process of making your own picture into a Monsters University College ID.  This was one of our favorite parts of the app, as we all enjoyed taking our pictures and then using the many options for eyes, horns, and other monster-like parts to “monster-fy” our pictures.  We monsters Univ IDalso were able to select our majors at Monsters University, choose a fraternity or sorority, and then sign our final card.  My children have made many an ID.  For myself, I am not sure any of mine are terribly “attractive,” but my monster ID is here for your enjoyment.

After creating your ID and reading the story, you then encounter the frustratingly addictive part of the app: the games.  In these games, you have the ability to practice your monster skills, by rotating your iPhone or iPad in an effort to avoid the “toxic” human objects that you encounter.  If you successfully make it through the bedroom scene, you are faced with a door which opens and gives you the opportunity to give your best monster roar.  Sadly, my first successful trek through the game came while I was sitting in the lobby of my son’s karate dojo.  Not sure what his sensei thought of my “ROAR” in the middle of their katas, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta MUSBD_iPad_EN_05do!  (Yes, several of the other moms looked at me strangely and moved a few inches away….. )  There are five variations of the game (Toxicity Challenge, Avoid the Parent, Don’t Scare the Teen, Hide and Sneak, and Simulated Scare), and each has a choice of an easy or hard difficulty level.  I have yet to work up the nerve to try the “hard” options, as I am still struggling with the easy options (I’m still a freshman at MU, after all!)

This app is available for iPad and iPhone for $6.99.  Be aware you do need a camera on your device, so if you have an early generation iPad (like me) with no camera, you will have to download the app to your phone.  We’ve had no trouble with the smaller screen, but I imagine everything would be even more vivid and life-like with the larger iPad screen.

This app deserves 4 monster-sized stars for its level of engagement and entertainment.  Anyone planning to see the movie would love this as an addition to their Disney app collection.  For those with younger children, I would strongly urge you to allow the little ones to read and play along.  I’ve found that especially when mine were littler, they were less likely to interrupt the movie with questions if they were already familiar with the story in advance.  If you don’t want to know the story in advance of the movie, you don’t have to read it to make your ID and play the games.  You can go back to the story after seeing the movie and relive the highlights after opening weekend!

And with that, I have to go finish my final term paper, for Roaring 101.


Thanks to Disney Publishing for providing WDW Radio with a review copy of this app.