Ah, welcome grasshopper. We are now going to review “Okinawa Game: Keep your Vitality!” This is a healthy-eating teaching app from Happy Blue Fish Studio, which has the most relaxing and pleasant name for a studio. This app has a variety of different minigames that attempt to teach you what you should eat more often and what you should avoid. This app is available for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and is currently in version 1.0.2 and costs $2.99 (as of 8/9/2010).
This game is filled with Japanese imagery. You have the kind Master Ki who guides you to health and wellness with culinary skills, random kicking, and a random kick-dancing. Everything in this game is told through text with lovely Japanese music playing in the background. There are 4 game modes in this game: Foods, Meals, Mind, and Body.
Foods and Meals are the first two at the top of the menu. Foods is a mini game where you tilt your iPhone left and right to guide a bowl on the floor to catch falling foods. If you catch good foods you should eat, you will be rewarded. If you catch unhealthy foods, you will get penalized. This is a quick yet fun little mini game with some genuinely thoughtful and interesting food tips. There are also some humorous moments like when they introduce Sweets (a cupcake) and Alcohol (a mug of beer) and they start following your bowl. Truly, symbolism of how those just seem to call out to you.
Meals attempt to help you construct a health meal plan using a sized-stacking minigame. You move a pyramid of disks from one side to the other with the rule that bigger disks cannot be placed on smaller disks. You try to move the proper disks with the least amount of moves possible. At the end, you’ll get a challenge such as preparing a meal with only 4 of 6 disks that creates a healthy diet. Sometimes, you’ll pick the wrong disks and it will tell you “You need more starch in your meal” or “Please add some protein.” This is an interesting way to teach what is a balanced diet or not.
Those two are my personal favorites in this app simply because they actually teach you something interesting about foods, diets, and meal plans. The next two, Mind and Body, don’t teach you. They sort of just give you time wasters, and in a game about health, giving you two mini games based on teaching nothing is a strangely disappointing.
In Mind, you play Simon with Master Ki in a memory test game where you tap his feet. It works fine with no glitches or bugs, but the game in itself teaches you nothing. It would have really been interesting if they taught you how to do certain exercises or gave you some kind of demonstration on stretches and work outs or something.
In Body, you play a rhythm beat game where you tap Master Ki’s feet again, this time to the beat of drums. Time it correctly and follow his feet around the screen. Again, it’s nothing flawed and the system works really well, but it teaches you nothing. Maybe this could have been a good time to teach breathing exercises or tell you when you should breath during certain activities like pushups, situps, or squats? Instead, you just play a minigame and move on.
Half this app teaches you something. There is an additional ‘Info’ section that tells you about different food types and explains their benefits and negatives (simplified information. Don’t expect Wikipedic details). I wished that there would have been a recipes section or ‘Eat this, Not That’ type of instructions, but it teaches you the basics well. I was just disappointed that physical activity wasn’t really taught well in this app. Overall though, the art is good, the games work, the information is generally good for you, and this app and its makers all had good intentions for the buyer. I recommend checking it out.
Do more with Mind and Body and this will be a 4 or 4.5 score app. Add recipes or more information on health and wellness and this would be a 5-star app that is fun, colorful, and is a super entertaining way to teach yourself health tips. Until then, it’s better than average and has tons of potential to grow. Mr. Miyagi would be proud.
Here is a video demo of the Okinawa Game app on the iPhone
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