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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.
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.
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.
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.