If you’re into teaching little kids – or yourself – how to create and play your own mobile games, you should consider checking out the Pixicade Mobile Game Maker.
I was provided with a free Pixicade Mobile Game Maker for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
I got to know about the Pixicade company during Sweet Suite 2022. The company was promoting its Pixicade Pets launch, which allows users to create and take care of their own digital pets. However, for those that are into making numerous digital games that can be shared with friends and family, the company has the Pixicade Mobile Game Maker.
Due to the times we live in, kids end up being sat in front of mobile screens from a very early age. I’m not against it. But as someone who has little ones in their life, I can understand the fear that can come with making sure that the kids are consuming age-appropriate content. The ads that pop up during certain online games aren’t always the most child-friendly.
The Pixicade Mobile Game Maker gives you the ability to create numerous games for kids to play. Not only that, the interactive nature of this product encourages children to participate in the game-making process. What kid wouldn’t want to create their own unique game and then also be able to play it on a mobile device?
The kit comes with everything you would need to start creating. It includes 5 washable markers, a sticker sheet, QR codes for the Pixicade app (it works on compatible Android and iOS devices), and three instruction manuals. The 5 markers have different colors as they serve a particular purpose during the game creation process.
The Black marker is used for creating walls, floors, and platforms. The Green marker is for creating your Avatar or the playable character that will move around. Hazards are to be drawn with the Red marker. The Blue marker is for creating Goals that the Avatar is to collect. And the Purple marker is for drawing Movables that can be pushed by the Avatar.
In the most basic sense, you draw a game by using different colored markers. Once you’re done, you simply snap a picture of the game via the Pixicade app and get to playing. Your Avatar will be able to move left and right and even double jump.
The good news is that you don’t need to contact the company for refills if you run out of markers. Any type of marker, as long as they are similar in color to the Pixicade ones, will work. Also, the app simply detects color as long as the background is clear white. A white paper sheet is recommended, but the app should work on a white table or a white cloth. This also means that a solid green little toy should function as your in-game Avatar if placed on a white table. The kit comes with a sticker sheet featuring various Avatars that you can use if you don’t want to draw one yourself.
Here’s an unboxing video I did.
The first book of instructions goes over the beginner stuff. You will get to learn how to draw Avatars, Movables, Hazards, and more. You will also learn how to Edit stuff and set Goals. Power-ups can also be added. And you can control Gravity, too. The Gravity Off feature is great if you’re creating a game that takes place underwater or in space. Platforms and Hazards can also be programmed to move to make games more challenging.
There’s definitely a lot to go over in the first book alone. So, take your time with the instructions for the step-by-step creation process. Be open to making mistakes and learning as you go. Book 1 does feature empty pages and practice games to get the ball rolling.
When it comes to the Game Mechanics, there are 6 types of different games you can create. There’s the Maze Maker, Super Slingshot (you can make your own version of Angry Birds), Hole in One (it’s basically golf), Brick Breaker, Volley Versus, and Paddle Battles. You get to learn about creating different kinds of games, collaboration/multiplayer mechanics, and more by reading Book 2 and Book 3. Users can spend weeks having fun leveling up their game creation skills as they make their way through the instruction manuals.
As far as parental features are concerned, the games you create can be accessed through the Pixicade app. All of the games you create will be stored in the My Games tab. The Public Pixicade Arcade will let you play other people’s games. Users under 13 will only see games approved as safe by Pixicade and the games created within their Friend Group. Game Rooms can be created to help friends share games.
As for how the Pixicade app works once you have created a game? Well, to put it bluntly, this isn’t your state-of-the-art gaming app. The target demo is little kids and that’s exactly whom the app caters to. Be ready for issues with lag, background music, and controls. Having said that, it’s not like Pixicade promoted this Mobile Game Maker as something that promises amazing 3D graphics and high-end performance. The fun factor is supposed to come from the overall process of drawing your own 2D games and getting to play them.
I tried two games in the video above, with one of the games (that I made) being about Catwoman needing to jump on buildings to save the people of Gotham. Watching that video will give you a better idea of the kind of in-game performance you should expect from the Pixicade app.
All in all, I would say that Pixicade Mobile Game Maker is a product you should look into if you want to give kids something that offers playtime that encourages imagination and helps them learn a bunch of coding-associated skills along the way. This is a STEM-authenticated product, and I do feel that the instruction manuals contain a nice amount of information to help kids actually learn about what they are doing step-by-step instead of simply following instructions.
The Pixicade Mobile Game Maker is currently available for purchase.
Have you used it before? What did you think?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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