Available in the App Store

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We’ve seen it on the iPad in all its glory, but now it’s time for my crew to take a look at the Playground Mini app for iPhone, put out by savvy app designer Jan Essig. There’s definitely some good to be had, but I have a few concerns about giving the app my full approval.

The Good

Eleven of the original games in the Playground series appear in the mini iPhone version. Search Images, Pairs, Puzzle, Erase, Sliding Puzzle, Catch, Remember, Piano, Collect, Roll and Colors all make appearances. Playground Mini is host to some adorable cow, frog, fish and cat character sets that my kids love. They each have a favorite, and most of the games feature all the sets, Colors and Collect are the two exceptions.

The lower $1.99 price tag is also a welcome change.

The Bad

Playground Mini is missing the Draw mini game, which features coloring pages of the cow, frog, fish and cat characters, and a blank draw sheet where creativity runs wild. It’s an understandable, if regrettable, omission. The iPhone’s screen simply doesn’t support detailed hands-on coloring. I just think there are ways to simplify coloring apps, or enable zoom features, that could have helped that mini-game translate to the iPhone’s smaller screen real estate.

Also, the app has a “rate me” icon at the top of the screen. While it is easy enough to dismiss, when you consider how simply it is to access the app’s settings, which contain several links that lead outside the app, it’s enough to raise a red parenting flag or two.

The kids also ran into some trouble with the new Colors game on the iPhone. It froze, fish disappeared and we had to close the game and start back at the beginning. This was an intermittent issue, but it happened enough to be frustrating. And that’s a shame, because Colors has the most promise of any of the app’s current games, with a score board and a lot of fun to be had.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a compact collection of apps and don’t mind a hidden outside link or two, Playground Mini’s a solid score for any family.

Playground mini is a fantastic games collection with 11 different games for kids.

1.) SEARCH IMAGES: 11 pictures, each with 5 errors
2.) PAIRS / MATCH UP: 40 different motives
3.) PUZZLE: 25 Puzzlemotives
4.) ERASE: 5 Scratch cards
5.) SLIDING PUZZLE: 5 Motives
6.) CATCH: Catch 5 animals of the same kind
7.) REMEMBER: Try to repeat a shown combination
8.) PIANO: 4 motives each with 8 animals (cats, frogs, cows, fish)
9.) COLLECT: Mama fish has to collect 5 stars for her Kids in 20 levels
10.) ROLL: Alternative to the “SLIDE” game for the little ones
11.) COLORS: Bubble Shooter with colored fish

Available in 12 Languages!

FREE Version for iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/spielplatz-mini-lite/id510643653?mt=8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/iOS-App-Spielplatz-HD-mini/182579225155336

Developer: http://www.janessig.com/ Regular Price: 1.99$