It’s not often that we get to cover apps that seek to inform people about bloody wars that saw the death of millions of people, but we take what comes our way. No surprise then that we want to tell you about World War II Interactive, an iPad app that puts a complete overview of the most disastrous war in human history in your hands.
Priced at $4.99 on the App Store, the app is designed with a view to bring you the timeline of events and rare photos and videos of WWII wrapped around a book that gives what is essentially an executive summary of the whole war. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that there is only a little reading involved though—when relating the account of an event of as grand a scale as WWII, even a summary is pretty lengthy indeed.
WWII Interactive’s design is pretty good—though not spectacularly so—but we have to take issue with the fact that every ‘page’ of the book is laid out in exactly the same manner and offers no text resizing options. The text is small (but not unreadably so), set entirely in italics and always relegated to the left half of the display. It’s a far cry from the beautiful intermingling of media and text that we’ve seen in higher quality productions like Al Gore’s Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis and Richard Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality.
However, it bears mentioning that those books were from high profile authors with deep pockets and this is by an independent developer. Seen in that context, the level of design the app displays is quite good, and, as long as you are willing to make do with the rather poor implementation of text placement, the rest of it is absolutely worth the money.
The app is divided into nine parts, based on the various periods of the lengthy war, ranging from 1918 – 1938, the roots of the war, to post 1945, the aftermath. Along the way, you get to see different timelines of events, the map changing colours as the balance of power shifts around the globe, over 600 photographs from that period and “more than 35 rare video clips of major battles, airplanes and events”.
Having very little knowledge of WWII before launching this app for the first time, I was surprised by how quickly I was brought up to speed due to the introduction video, the app’s navigation and the various timelines. I also enjoyed listening to the various speeches, even if I did not like some of what I heard.
Overall, World War II Interactive is a great app that should be a good purchase for anyone wanting to know more about the event without having to scour through pages upon pages in Wikipedia. It’s a shame that the text in the app isn’t better rendered, but all the interactive content and media it bundles make it worth the price of admission. If you’re a WWII enthusiast, we say go for it.
[World War II Interactive is available on the App Store for $4.99 and is compatible with all iPads running iOS 3.2 or later.]