Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 App Review
Price: Free (In-App Purchases)
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 is a free sample of an interactive restaurant app designed for preschool children. Animated customers seat themselves at the counter, and users help them choose a dish from the menu, then head to the kitchen to fry, chop, shake, sizzle, and otherwise prepare the requested dish. The food gets served to the customer, and the restaurant owner gets to clean up the counter and wait for the next customer to arrive.
- Nonverbal play
- No reading required
- Choose from over 20 ingredients and condiments
- Try out virtual kitchen tools
- Earn points to access place settings, table decorations, and more
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 is a high quality app. The animal customers are animated and cute, with widely differentiated reactions to the foods. It’s easy and intuitive to manipulate things like knives for chopping and to control the heat on the stove. Items flash to attract attention when they need to be clicked, which will help young users understand what to do next.
Developers list this app as educational, and there are some aspects that will help children prepare for academic success, such as following directions and learning to manipulate a digital environment. However, there are several ways that educational purposes could be better supported. For example, while the app is intended to be nonverbal and to not require reading, many children will not be familiar with the foods and condiments offered in the kitchen. I don’t think my own kids would’ve recognized an eggplant during their preschool years, and without some sort of click-to-narrate feature, the kids using this app won’t learn to recognize one, either. The dishes are pictured in the menu, but there is no way to know exactly what you are making, at least with the two example dishes provided in the free version of the app. All I got was that the first one had some sort of pasta involved. The second was completely unidentifiable. So even minimalist narration would be a plus. As it stands, kids could be putting paint or play dough into the dishes and they wouldn’t know the difference.
It would also be nice if the points earned could unlock some additional foods as well as utensils for the table like napkins and centerpieces. The free sample of the app has two choices open on the menu, and that doesn’t seem like very many.
This app has some fun aspects, like being able to fry some foods at a variety of temperatures, hearing it sizzle and seeing it brown, and being able to chop with a virtual knife, seeing the food fall into bite-sized pieces. Kids will also enjoy being creative with the food preparation. They can choose an array of different combinations of vegetables, meats, sauces and condiments to compliment whatever they may be making. Will the elephant notice the extra chili peppers? The customer-animals seem to eat with gusto (in fact, they are amazingly messy eaters), and each one has a unique way of showing enjoyment. Young children will also enjoy cleaning up after the meal by washing the dish and wiping the counter. However, with only two dishes on the menu for the free version, it seems like most children will quickly tire of the game.
This app is free to try on both the App Store and on Google Play. The free version allows unlimited games, but there are only two active choices on the restaurant’s menu, and few kitchen tools or food choices in the refrigerator. Additional options are available as in-app purchases, ranging from $1.99 to $4.99.
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 is mostly child-friendly. There are no outside advertisements, and social media and other links are hidden in a parents’ area behind an effective gate. However, the home screen includes an enticing “more apps” section where the developer showcases other offerings on the App Store, and the in-app purchases are constantly visible in the various parts of the game. Everything with a lock icon leads to an in-app purchase. These are all protected with a parent gate that asks for your year of birth, but having so many places where young players will run into road blocks is likely to make this app a large source of nagging from children who want more of what the app has to offer. It would be much better to have these options far less obvious to the young players and to make parents aware of them in private so they can make a good decision for their family.
- NO 3rd party ads
- YES Social media in protected parent area
- YES outside links in protected parent area
- YES in-app purchase but behind a parent gates (birth year)
- YES more apps behind parent gate (birth year)