What else could a Thunderbirds website possibly be other than F.A.B.?
It’s a rare thing that successfully prises both Isaac and Toby away from Minecraft, and yet both our boys set aside their tablets last weekend to explore the new thunderbirds.com website, launched as a companion to the new Thunderbirds Are Go animated series currently airing on ITV1 and CITV. (If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my review of the first episode.)
The website allows fans of the show to sign up for the International Rescue training programme. Users can create their own secret code names – after much deliberation, Isaac chose ‘BraveInventor18’, while Toby adopted ‘BravePilot14’ – and print out their own personalised certificates.
They can then participate in training missions featuring characters and locations from the show, with new challenges being added every week. By decoding secret transmissions, finding hidden pieces and answering questions related to each new episode, they can accumulate points and earn themselves virtual badges.
It’s a well constructed website which successfully integrates the distinctive look and feel of the series. The individual challenges are varied, well thought through and pitched at just the right level for young fans too. After the initial setup and a few minutes investigating the first few activities together with them, the boys were able to find their way around the site easily and (other than some help with correctly spelling the occasional answer) complete the various exercises without further adult intervention – they’re tricky enough to be stretching but not so tough as to be off-putting.
Achievement-driven problem-solver that he is, Isaac has been racing ahead in pursuit of adding to his badge collection. Four days in, he’s already into double figures. Toby is equally engaged – a good sign for a boy whose interest in new things often wanes rapidly.
The Thunderbirds Are Go: IR Field App – which is free to download from both the Apple App Store and Google Play stores – allows them to continue their adventures on their tablets. Which is good news for me, as it allows me access to my own computer again! We’ve tried both the iOS and Android versions, and each functions as smoothly on mobile devices as on the web.
Overall, the thunderbirds.com website provides an excellent interactive extension to the TV show. Younger fans may require a little assistance with some of the tasks, but our computer-savvy seven and five-year-olds mastered it almost immediately.
It gets a big thumbs up from me, but more importantly it does from both boys as well. It really is F.A.B.
Disclosure: I was provided with a Thunderbirds DVD and other merchandise for review purposes. However, all reviews are written solely by me and reflect my own (and my children’s) personal views.