Cozmo’s Day Off is the latest offering from Ayars Animation, creators of Jack and the Bean Stalk (see my review here). Ayars has got a great story. They’re the kind of iPad shop that you want to love. A father of six leaves his job at IBM and starts a studio that creates Kids’ iPad storybooks – and his kids all chip in with various parts of the production.

I thought their past work on Bean Stalk was just alright – but they’ve made up for it in this one. It’s full of little quirky delights – and while a bit cheezy at times, you can feel the love that went into it.

Download the free lite version on iTunes here.

Buy the full featured version on iTunes here ($3.99)

Narration: cheezy. Soundtrack: cheezy. Story: cheezy rhyming. At times, this app is like listening to a stand up comic tell pun jokes. But it transcends its punnyness with finely detailed illustrations and a panoply of interactive features. Most of these are gratuitous and even ridiculous effects – like a lightening bolt ricocheting from a helmet around a room and landing on a bird’s tail, which then smokes. Or a spinning fish in a blender. Or the fire extinguisher that explodes and fills up the screen with foam that you then need to wipe off to continue. But at a certain point, it’s just so over the top that it becomes wonderful.

And then there are some features that are just really neato. Like being able to record your own audio narration. A lovely frame by frame controllable rotoscope – a la Edward Muybridge. Sound memory and space ship games that are directly integrated into the story itself (take note publishers who throw in gratuitous coloring books – this is the way to integrate a game). And then there’s the really cool 3d spin-able holograph.

In sum, Cozmo’s Day Off is not my style. I feel that there’s a fair amount of “just because you can” features at play here. But I’ve got to admit that there are so many of these features – and so many of them are just plain old fun to play around with – that I’m giving it my highest rating, a ThumbsUp.

Also, on a technical note, they’ve made super use of the in-app purchase system to allow you to upgrade right from the Lite version (which I gladly did after knowing that I had to explore the nooks and crannies of this thing).

Here’s a video from the publisher:

And my screenshots:

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