Bedtime can be a chore for new parents as younger kids can be quite restless. There are quite a few storybook apps for iOS that help kids get to sleep, and Nighty Night Circus is a new one. It’s a follow-up to the well received 2012 app Nighty Night, and this edition focuses on circus animals. The storybook app is designed to let kids help animals get ready for bed to reinforce the concept for themselves. Whether kids are turning off light switches, or blowing out candles, it’s all about letting the animals get to sleep after a busy day at the circus.
Each of the seven circus animals has their own place to sleep to let the child care for each one individually. Not only do kids get to put them to sleep, but they also get to interact with them before bedtime. There are a few different interactive elements for each animals activated by tapping in specific spots. For example, the elephant balances on a platform, the lion balances on a ball, and the rabbit does magic tricks. It’s fun to play with the animals before bed, and it’s great to go in order to treat each one individually.
There’s a great art design accented by lively animations, colors, and sound effects for each animal you meet. The main drawback is that Nighty Night Circus is definitely on the short side with just seven animals to interact with. With only a couple animations each, there’s little to come back to after a couple play throughs. The app is designed to be a nightly ritual, but it’s not the most personality rich to be compelling enough to do the same few things over, and over. It makes sense to be simple to prep kids for bed, rather than being super intricate, and engaging. With that said, there’s very little narration, and it would just be nice to see more interactions to explore to change things up a bit each night. A lot has gone into what is included, but there’s just not much included. Also, there seems to be less in the Circus than the original Nighty Night edition.
Nighty Night Circus ($2.99, Universal) is awfully simple, even for little kids, making it worth considering depending on your child’s affinity to simple books.