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Review: Loopimal – a sweet-natured composition tool for kids of all ages

We’re getting the band back together — and it stars a Yeti, a sloth, a pig and a four-tentacled octopus

Price: $2.99/£2.49
Size: 51.5 MB
Version: 1.0.1
Developer: Lucas Zanotto

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A good indicator of quality regarding entertainment for kids is how long you can stand it yourself. The best movies appeal to everyone, and so it goes with apps. We had high hopes on seeing Loopimal’s gorgeous art in stills, along with what looked to be an interface anyone could get to grips with. What we weren’t expecting was just how captivating this app would be.

Octopus bass!

Octopus bass!

Loopimal’s aim is to be an introduction to sequencing, ‘hidden’ behind the guise of a motley bunch of performing cartoon critters. At its most basic, Loopimal has one such character face you, nodding along to a background beat or perhaps floating serenely to one of the more ambient styles. You then drag colored shapes to the looping sequencing bar; when the playhead hits a shape, you see a canned animation accompanied by an audio loop.

That all sounds rather dry, and this app could have been pretty dull. But it’s hard to remain remotely cynical when a percussive pig is jigging and star-jumping before you. A quick swipe and you get a new character. All six have a very distinct style, our favorite probably being a particularly lively four-tentacled octopus that was clearly a funky bass guitar in a previous life.

Dancing pig! And a sloth doing… something!

Dancing pig! And a sloth doing… something!

Tap the + button at the top-right and you can add some complexity to proceedings, by using two or four characters simultaneously. To avoid a cacophony, the background loops are removed in those views, leaving only the sounds from each character’s loops. However, it’s easy enough to build up some quite beautiful audio, and there’s the added advantage that whatever you do sounds great. The press release notes the app’s music only uses white keys, enabling you to also jam along with real instruments.

We'd totally go to a festival to see this band.

We’d totally go to a festival to see this band.

Our only minor grumble with the app is that it could have been taken a bit further. Switch views and you lose anything you’ve previously created; and there’s no save slots to hang on to particularly successful compositions, no export, and no means to expand beyond an endless eight-bar composition. But then perhaps this is the point: Loopimal revels in its simplicity, as a “fail-safe kit for creation”, and one we suspect will be thoroughly enjoyed by iPhone owners of all ages — from children to grandparents.

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