Common Sense Review
Updated November 2012

Spaghetti Marshmallows

Play with your food in cute but tricky construction app
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Working toward the circle in Level 1 with 20 remaining spaghetti sticks and marshmallows. Undo button with green arrow and menu button with up arrow at bottom.
  • Right-side construction failed in “Double Trouble” level with no marshmallows remaining. Bottom leftmost spaghetti connector is colored red to show tension.
  • Tower construction in the “Building High” level with 18 spaghetti sticks and 31 marshmallows remaining.
  • Complete solution in “Ribbit!” level indicated by gold circle and rampage button available at top.
  • Rampage mode drops red blocks on successful structures.
Pros
Engaging open-ended gameplay with good design and layout provide easy learning.
Cons
Tricky controls, inability to delete pieces, and the lack of solid building concepts are disappointing.
Bottom Line
While it's an appealing and creative construction game, there's some room for practical improvements.
Leslie Crenna
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

This building game challenges players with cleverly designed levels. Players can switch to Sandbox mode or or go on a playful Rampage. The app is a little sparse graphically, but superb physics and fun sound effects help to pick up the slack.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Kids are challenged to come up with creative solutions as they learn the basics of structural engineering. They can make predictions and test out theories. Including a tutorial about building concepts would make this a stronger learning tool.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

Solutions can be saved in screenshots, but there's no data feature for materials used or solution time. Controls are tricky, and the inability to delete individual pieces is likely to frustrate some kids. 

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

In the classroom, students could work individually or cooperatively in groups to build structures (such as a truss bridge or geodesic dome) using real-life spaghetti sticks and marshmallows. They could also experiment at home, creating a successful structure and then re-creating it in front of classmates.

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What's It Like?

Spaghetti Marshmallows is an app that challenges kids to build simple structures to reach a target circle using marshmallows as connectors and sticks of raw spaghetti as supports. As they experiment with gravity and different constructions, kids get a chance to predict what might work, test out their theories, and try again as many times as they wish.

Kids get an allotment of marshmallows and spaghetti in each level. They tap for marshmallows and drag for spaghetti, watching for the circle and sound that indicate a connection is made. If a structure is unstable, it begins to sway and eventually falls down (sometimes rather slowly). If kids pass any part of their structure into one or more target circles, they pass the level. Spaghetti connectors turn red when they receive too much tension, warning kids to shore them up to prevent a collapse. At the end of each level, players can switch to sandbox mode and keep building for the fun of it, or go on a playful rampage and destroy their structure by dropping giant red blocks on it.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Every attempt and every solution is unique, so creativity and imagination are required to succeed at Spaghetti Marshmallows. Kids will love the tasty building blocks and should have lots of fun experimenting, and elements like a marshmallow-eating frog in the “Ribbit!” level provide a responsive environment. There are a couple of problems: The menu text can be hard to read and select, and attaching spaghetti connectors can be tricky –- you have to get it right the first time. There's no way to delete individual pieces except for the single undo button, so kids will need to restart the more difficult levels often.

Kids can save screenshots of solutions to the app's folder on the device, but there's no data feature like materials used or solution time. While the tutorial helps with basic gameplay, an introduction to building concepts would improve learning potential and reduce the chances of frustration for beginners.

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