Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats gets inventive on iOS


Here’s something to make you feel old: four year-olds are designing children’s apps now. Okay, admittedly with a little help from their parents…

Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats is a new app from a new developer, Rocketwagon, set up by parents Carrie and Jon Alexander. It’s based on a story drawn by their daughter Kalley when she was four, and she’s contributed (with her sister Corbett) narration, sound effects and music.

A real family affair, then. And we love the results: a truly charming children’s app from start to finish. The story concerns a machine made by a little girl (named Kalley, obv) whose ultimate aim is to persuade her dad that he doesn’t need to commute to work.

Each interactive page of the story focuses on a different bit of the machine: cogs, buttons, levers, a fiery boiler, big bashing hammers and so on.

Oh, and animals. “Kalley’s Machine is a story based on a 4 year-old girl’s drawing. As such, it includes cats,” explains RocketWagon in the App Store listing. “They are completely irrelevant to the story. However, they are way fun to harass.”

The animated illustrations are lovely, and each page has something for children to do, from turning dials to tweaking red, blue and yellow paints on and off to paint blocks different colours.

There’s also text: a couple of lines on each page read out by the real-life Kalley and Jon. Your children can also tap on any word to hear it read out loud.

Anyway, we really like it: hats off to the Alexander family for pooling their talents to make such a characterful app. We’re looking forward to what else they come up with in the future.

Kalley’s Machine Plus Cats costs £1.99 for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, with no in-app purchases.

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