March 20, 2013

App Review: Music Intervals by Foriero

Interval testing apps are a dime-a-dozen. You'd think then that an app named "Music Intervals" would be the cream of the crop right?

Um, no.

For an app with a name that makes it sound like the definitive answer to all the cheap games out there, Music Intervals, made by Foriero, just throws another one onto the pile.

You can probably guess from looking at the screenshot above how this game works. It's a simple interval recognition game, where two notes are shown and played and the user has to pick the correct answer below. The version I used is the free game, but from what I can tell, all that you get from the paid version is removal of the horrible (but yes, I realize necessary) advertisements. 

My biggest issue by far with this game (and you can probably guess from looking above) is the artwork and design. There is so much happening on the screen that users, especially young users, are likely to look at everything except for the notes. That ad in the top right? It changes constantly. The ad at the bottom (the er...gambling website)? That changes constantly too. 

The notes are difficult to distinguish for a couple of reasons. The fact that everything has a bubble texture makes them hard to read. The terrifying faces on each of the notes is distracting and even more frustrating is that their eyebrows can look like extra lines on the staff. The background not only has too many colors which distract from the colors we're used to on a page (those colors being black and white) but the line of the hill above also interferes with the lines on the staff, making it even more confusing. It looks like in the paid version the background is changed to a choppy ocean and all blue background but the same issues remain with clashing lines near the staff.

There are two modes to play in. Training mode is a "go at your own pace" experience where you name the intervals at whatever speed you want, although if you're too slow the game tells you the right answer (like in the picture above). The other mode is "Play" which is a sort of competition to identify them as fast as possible, either by sight or sound (I actually really like the xylophone tone used). You get a point for each right answer and go until you get one wrong or run out of the allotted 60 second time limit.The game then gives you a speed ranking, although I'm unclear whether it's actually about speed or just how many you get correct. Apparently the world record is 86.

Foriero's website also offers some other games, all of which feature the same kind of bubble artwork and notes with faces on them. There are also packs of stickers to put on the keys of the piano (the bane of my existence) which are pushed heavily in game and on the website.

The Skinny
What: Music Intervals
Where: Get it at the Apple App Store
Cost: FREE!
Positives: Works visually and audially
Negatives: Graphically very confusing, limited options
Should You Download It?
I'd skip it.

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