Osmo is a gaming system for the iPad. Osmo consists of a Reflector, a Base, and three apps. By snapping the Reflector onto your iPad’s camera and placing it into the base, you can turn any surface into a digital, and imaginative, playing surface. Everything you need to play with the three apps is included in the Starter Kit, which is made up of three separate boxes that stick together with magnetic packaging, so everything stays in one place. There are different fun and educational games that be played through the three apps for Osmo: Tangram, Words, and Newton.
Kids can play Tangram the classic way but with a little help from their friends Osmo and iPad. The beginner levels of the app help kids by giving hints with colors and shapes, and as they work through the levels less visual hints are given and the puzzles become more challenging. Within the app, there are extra achievements to be given, such as completing a certain number of puzzles in a row or without using any hints. During the early stages, the Osmo recognizes which pieces the player has placed correctly, and shows them in color on the screen, providing encouragement and extra direction for less experienced Tangram-ers.
Words plays a lot like hangman—except it can also be played as a single player game. The back of the iPad screen turns into a visual clue as to what the word could be. As kids move through the levels, the clues become less obvious and require more critical thinking. Osmo recognizes both the color and the letter on each tile, so kids can play a fun multiplayer version if they’re in for some friendly competition. The rounds are interspersed with some speed rounds, which switches up the gameplay a bit to keep kids engaged.
Newton is the most impressive game of the bunch, and for me, required the most concentration and skill. With the Newton app, Osmo sees shapes in front of the iPad and redraws them on the screen. Players get creative with how they draw shapes (or place items, such as your hands or other objects!) to guide the falling balls into the targets. It’s kind of like a high-tech version of pinball—super fun!
The base is compatible with iPad 2, 3rd and 4th generation iPads, iPad Mini, and iPad Air. “But how?” you may ask. The can simply shift from holding an iPad to a Mini or an Air by just switching two pieces. And when I say “simply,” I mean simply. Just pop them out, switch, then click them back in. There’s tons of value in one starter kit, and the apps are free, so it ends up being a great value for educational and fun playtime.