Reviewed by Louise Totton
We are constantly told to put the screens away and to spend more quality time together with our partner, with the kids and as families. But I find that as much as mobile phones and the TV interferes with the time that I spend with the important people in my life, the times that I’m most likely to reach for the phone is when I’m on my own. I absolutely love time on my own, and will happily spend hours with either a good book or with my colouring book as well as with the phone, but this ‘me time’ is something that I have grown into, and when I was younger, I always needed to be surrounded by people.
I am currently trying to encourage this sense of independence and happiness in one’s own skin into my own children, and surprise surprise, their first port of call is their tablets when I suggest some quiet time! This is ok, in short and limited stints, but I am also trying to encourage them to read more, use their puzzle books (I used to love these as a child – my own kids look at me like I’m mad when I get them out!), and we also have a small selection of solo games to play too. There’s the obvious Solitaire, as well as decks of cards for playing memory and our collection of Smart Games!
We have a number of games from the Smart Games range, including Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Monster Cannibals and we were recently sent Colour Catch to try out. Colour Catch is a one-player logic based puzzle game, which, in common with all of the other Smart Games that we own, allows the player to alter the difficulty of the game each time they play and provides a challenging puzzle for every player from 7 years old all the way up to adults.
Colour Catch is a tile-based game, and the object of the game is to arrange the tiles according to the clues in the book. The plastic board has a coloured grid, and there are grey tiles that sit on top with clear cut-outs of frogs, lizards and bugs. The clear cut-outs reveal the colours of the grid below, and you have to arrange the tiles according to the clues in the puzzle book.
As with all of the Smart Games that we own, the quality of the pieces are exceptional and are made from high-quality and thick plastic. The effect of the clear cut-ours over the coloured grid look really effective, and almost make the creatures look 3D. The game is recommended for ages 7+, and my kids are 7 and 10. They both loved the game, finding it challenging but not out of reach at all. once you get to grips with the concept, play becomes quite intuitive and you will soon find that you have your own strategies and starting points.
I love logic games, and I think they are particularly good for the kids to develop critical thinking and methodical strategies for working out the solutions to the puzzles. All of the solutions are in the back of the book too, and each puzzle only has one solution. I found with my youngest, I would often give her a single correctly placed tile as a starting point if she was struggling and this helped to get her engaged if she didn’t know where to start.
This game really is great for all ages over 7 – even adults will find the concept addictive and some of the games pretty challenging! I do think it’s important to teach children that time on their own and enjoying their own company is important, and both of mine will happily sit with all of our Smart Games for half an hour or more entertaining themselves. They’re also great for keeping one of the kids entertained if the other is out or busy with something else – I have lost count of the number of arguments they have had when one has wanted to get a boardgame out and the other hasn’t been in the mood.
These are great quality, reasonably priced and the kids are learning without even realising it – a massive thumbs up from all of us here!