We downloaded Skill Game and Skill Game Arcade into the iPad 2 hoping it may be used as an app for cognitive rehabilitation. We’ll talk about its (possible) usability in the work setting. Right now, let us tell you what this app is all about.
Up front, Skill Game may look like your ordinary connect-the-dots app. Play it and you see that the rules makes this game difficulty and frustrating (in a funny sort of way). Just four rules to adhere to while you’re using your finger to connect the dots:
- connect the dots in the correct order (makes a lot of sense of course)
- you can’t draw across or cross any lines, whether pre-drawn lines or lines you have already drawn. No can do.
- you can’t go off the page’s edge
- you may, however, go through the numbers you have already connected
It’s the no-crossing-lines that makes the game challenging and frustrating. We put this to a test with our own colleagues at the clinic. It highly depends on how one copes with the challenges Skill Game presents. It appeared like the (frustrated) worst in us were brought out by the game. One of our occupational therapists was positively growling in utter exasperation. But we had to give her credit for her frustration tolerance. She stuck to the game until she finished a few pages.
- on the iPad 2 (no, we haven’t tested this on the iPhone nor iPod Touch), the nice big screen gives a fair amount of maneuverability (until you fail to plan ahead and find yourself drawing very very carefully to avoid touching other lines
- beautiful paper patterns: does not wash out the numbers nor the lines
- varying challenges: your skill meter rises for each challenge you managed to finish. It dips when you decide to skip a page, merely because it assumes you cannot (or would not) finish that particular challenge
- the app adjusts itself to your skill level: that way, if you can’t finish a challenge, it makes the next challenge slightly easier for you (thus making the app addictive)
- magnifying glass on the upper left corner for extremely hard drawing: this is where one’s visual perceptual skills are put to a test: you want to cross a number but that number is bordered by two ominous lines. You need to carefully maneuver your finger between those lines, draw carefully, and cross the target number safely so you can reach your next number
- comes with a Magic Pen option: if you’re stuck, tap on the Magic Pen and it allows you to cross lines only once. You have to buy an add-on to refill the Magic Pen
- unlimited, random levels! The challenges stretch on and on.
Of course, you CAN use this app for therapy, either as a game or as a way of working at your client’s cognitive skills. One thing’s for sure, using Skill Game will inadvertently work on (and test) anybody’s frustration tolerance.
It is apparent, though, that Skill Game was not designed with the challenged population in mind. As we mentioned earlier, we hoped to use this with our clients for cognitive rehabilitation, particularly our dementia clients. Here’s hoping that the app developers may be able to come up with a stripped down version (without the no-crossing-lines rule).
- fine motor skills
- visual perceptual skills
- visual attention skills
- eye-hand coordination