The Foos teaches a variety of fundamental computer coding concepts through a visual interface. The game features very little text, and its tutorial materials also show rather than tell. The titular “Foos” are cartoon characters of various professions who live in the game's town. The player is tasked with helping the Foos, whose predicaments are shown in vignettes. This is accomplished by affecting the scene or a Foo via coding, which is done by sequentially arranging command icons by dragging and dropping. Different instructions for commands can be selected, such as changing a move right command to move left. When the player executes the “code”, an animated sequence plays out in the scene. If done correctly, the Foo will reach his or her goal. If not, the player must rewrite and try again.
A game level editor, called “Foo Studio”, is included and uses a similar interface. Players navigate through these levels as they would in a 2D platform game, along with similar hazards and loss conditions. Players may purchase items for their levels, such as platforms, obstacles, collectibles, and so on, with rewards received in the main game. Instructions can also be specified for items in order to alter their behavior and what they affect in the level. For example, a bouncing ball can be made to break objects, damage the player, or collect items for the player when it touches them. When complete, one can share levels made in Foo Studio with other players to see if they can complete them.
By presenting the practices and challenges of coding in an accessible manner, The Foos prepares children to write computer code outside of the game. The concepts they learn include conditionals, sequencing, algorithms, loops, and commands/parameters, in addition to problem recognition, critical thinking, and perseverance. This is accomplished all by completing engaging, clearly defined objectives. Foo Studio provides an additional incentive to learn by tying it to personally defined goals, as well as the fun of game design.
2015 Serious Play Conference Silver award winner
Parents' Choice Award Gold winner for mobile apps
2016 KAPi Awards winner of Best Children's Game (pre-readers)
Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice for Design Excellence
2015 Tillywig Toy Awards winner of the Tillywig Brain Child Award