It may come as a surprise to some, but not to the parents among the Pocket-lint team, that the various applications starring Peppa Pig are some of the biggest-selling titles on iTunes.
Now the other pre-school cartoon by the same production team (and many of the voice actors) of Peppa Pig has been rendered into app form and we are in no doubt that it'll do particularly well too. Because somewhere, hidden among thorny brambles, there's a little kingdom of elves and fairies and it's as addictive as crack to the kiddies (and their dads)...
Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - Big Star Fun
- iPad (version tested), iPhone, iPod touch
Like Peppa Pig before it, the adventures of Ben & Holly - an elf and a fairy princess - have a cunning blend of silly characters, situations and enough comical asides to keep parents as amused as their toddlers. And if you're obliged to have TV designed for very young children on every morning of your life, you can do a lot worse than Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom.
Big Star Fun is the duo's first appearance in a mobile game, for all iOS devices. An Android version is being developed at present, but isn't ready in time for this review.
The game itself is actually a collection of four mini games. You can play as either Ben or Holly and the idea is that for each game completed a new sticker for a virtual sticker album is unlocked. These can then be used for a child to create a scene with their favourite characters, and there are four backgrounds on offer, all taken from the show itself.
As the mini games go, they're more complex than you'd initially imagine. There's a hide-and-seek-style game set in the Great Elf Tree, where Ben and Holly randomly pop out of windows and the player has to tap on them before they disappear. What makes it slightly harder is that other children or objects also appear.
Another, even harder game, has either Ben (on Gaston,the male ladybird) or Holly fly through a flowery field, collecting stars along the way, while avoiding bees and butterflies.
There's a game where you have to sweep up leaves outside the Great Elf Tree, which is more difficult than you think. And the final mini game has to swipe at Ben or Holly in order to throw a stick to collect stars, which is then returned to you to have another go by the dog-like Gaston.
Admittedly, that is about all there is to Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - Big Star Fun, but with two skill levels - easy and hard - and pure innocent fun, not only your toddler will be returning for more, but you will be too. And, we have to be honest here, you may have to as you might find that on hard level you might not even complete some of the games first time.
Considering that it's almost half the price of one of the books, at £1.99 you... oops, sorry, the little 'uns... get a lot of value for the money.