A Charlie Brown Christmas Review — Relive the classic holiday TV special on your iOS device

On December 27, 2011

App Type: Uncategorized

A Charlie Brown Christmas Review — Relive the classic holiday TV special on your iOS device

Our rating:

By: Loud Crow Interactive Inc.

Version #: 2.0

Date Released: 2011-12-05

Developer: Loud Crow Interactive Inc., Peanuts Worldwide LLC

Price: 0.99

User Rating:

Released on primetime television in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas is, deservedly, universally acclaimed as a classic holiday special. The animated program, based on Charles M. Schulz’s hugely popular Peanuts comic strips, has since become a seasonal staple, appearing in all its old-fashioned glory on television sets every Christmas time. Being the critical and commercial hit that it is, it has been subjected to many iterations in various media, from the VHS format of yore to the crystal clear Blu-Ray of today. And most recently, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been drawing renewed significant attention, thanks to a wonderfully enhanced adaptation available only on those fabled gadgets called iPhones and iPads.

The iOS app implementation of A Charlie Brown Christmas is nothing short of amazing. It takes the famous story of poor Charlie Brown and the commercialization of Christmas and transforms it into a unique multi-sensory experience. In essence, the app is a storybook—don’t expect to find the entire show here—but it’s one that is intensively interactive and immensely immersive, showcasing illustrations remastered from the original show.

A Charlie Brown Christmas on iOS is a prime example of the brilliance that can come out of a carefully calibrated combination of a tried-and-tested tale and a dash of innovative user interface design, done all in the service of excellent storytelling. The app mimics the behavior of a pop-up book to great effect, as evidenced by the way characters and objects bend in and out of view at the turn of a page. Also, tapping any spot on a page almost always results in something interesting, as when prodding a snowdrop turns it into a snowflake and touching a can of red paint leaves red fingerprints on the screen. But, as always, the story rightfully takes center stage, aided only but not eclipsed by the platform’s impressive touch-based tricks.

The app features narration recorded by none other than Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown himself. Interspersed with his narration are bits of dialogue rendered in the voices of the original cast. The words from both narration and dialogue are reproduced at the bottom of the screen, with each word highlighted karaoke-style in sync with the audio track. You can even tap on an individual word to have it spoken, recommended for teaching youngsters how to read and pronounce certain words. Moreover, you can tap on an apposite character to make him or her mumble or speak with speech bubbles or, in the case of Snoopy, bark. Music is also integrated into the app, whether as a background element or a standout quirk. A major selling point of the app is the inclusion of a set of piano keys with authentic note arrangement, letting you tinker with tunes as though you were Schroeder and play themes composed by Vince Guaraldi as well as popular Christmas carols.

A certain unassuming Christmas tree plays a significant role in the story of A Charlie Brown Christmas, so it’s only fitting that the app has a section that lets you decorate your own festive tree. This part of the app presents you with an array of decorative choices, many of which are locked for use and can only be unlocked by making an in-app purchase. Other in-app purchases include new scenes and new mini-activities. Some may see it as a little ironic, the apparent commercialization of a work that’s built around a story that decries the commercialization of Christmas. But, hey, if it adds value to the already enjoyable experience, prompting you to join the chorus saying, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” with more fervor, then a dollar or two shouldn’t at all make you exclaim, “Good grief!”

Quick Take

Value:Very high

Would I Buy Again:Absolutely

Learning Curve:Low

Who Is It For:Fans of the original show in particular and of innovative storytelling in general

What I Like:Everything!

What I Don't Like:Nothing, actually.

Final Statement:Only a stingy Scrooge can resist the charm of A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

Read the Developer's Notes:
** Spectacular Super-Colossal Holiday SALE !! **
** Save on All Loud Crow Apps (up to 85% OFF) **

?? iPhone AND iPad APP OF THE WEEK ??

Featured in CNET, Wired, Mashable, TUAW, MacWorld, NBC, USA Today, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Slashgear, School Library Journal

TUAW - 4.5 out of 5
APPOLICIOUS - 5 out of 5
PADGADGET - 5 out of 5
MACOBSERVER - 4.5 out of 5
APPTUDES - 5 out of 5
GEEKASMS - 5 out of 5
DOWNLOADCREW - 5 out of 5
FAMIGO - 5 out of 5

? "Really captures the essence of a 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'" - Jean Schulz
? "Makes the iPad feel like magic" - Mashable
? "Beautifully designed… and one that will tug at the heartstrings of anyone" - Wired
? "Pitch-perfect app tribute to the holiday TV classic" - Common Sense Media
? "Worth the money for all the warm fuzzies alone." - ConsumerReports
? "The attention to detail and craft makes this stand out from the crowd" - The Guardian
? "iPad owners.. would be real blockheads if they overlooked this app" - Macworld
? "A wonderful addition to anyone’s iPad" - PadGadget
? "A perfect addition to any family's Christmas traditions" - Mobile Tech Review
? "This is a must-have app for the holiday season" - iPad Insight
? "This app is a winner, a lovely high-tech take on a classic" - GeekMom
? "A magnificent addition to the App Store and to anyone’s device" - Apptudes
? "The must-have addition to any tablet you gift" - BetaNews
? "A definite must-buy!" – App Hunger

"Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!" Help Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the entire Peanuts gang as they struggle to find the true meaning of Christmas. Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, narrates the rebirth of the 1965 animated classic as an interactive storybook complete with original dialogue and digitally remastered illustrations, animation, and music optimized for your Apple device.

Play Schroeder's piano, finger paint with the gang, go carolling with the Peanuts choir, and participate in the Spectacular Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display Contest to unlock decorations for your very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! With something to discover on every page, this is one interactive Peanuts adventure you won't want to miss this holiday season!!

* Original dialogue from the 1965 animated classic
* Captivating narration by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown
* Charming soundtrack featuring music and sound effects from the original show
* Decorate your own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
* Participate in the Lights and Display Contest to unlock rewards
* Educational features such as word and note highlighting to help improve reading and musical skills
* Hear individual words spoken with the tap of a finger
* Touch and drag objects to make them “spring” to life or tilt to watch them slide and move
* Objects that literally pop out of the page to delight you and your family!
* Bookmark reveals handy "table of contents" to jump to any page in the book
* Universal App means this will play on all of your Apple Devices

NO AUDIO >> Check both your Side Switch AND Mute settings:
Double-tap Home button, scroll left until you see the volume settings, tap to unmute the speaker.
If you hear audio through your headphones, but not your speakers, then your device is likely muted.
CRASHES >> Reset your device by holding Home and Sleep button together until Apple logo appears

Visit us: www.loudcrow.com
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