Nintendo offers ‘on-the-go’ learning gamesWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out these on-the-go Nintendo DS and DSiWare/eShop downloadable learning games:
“Ready, Set, Grover! With Elmo The Videogame” (Warner Brothers Games)
Grover is joined by other familiar “Sesame Street” characters like Elmo and Abby Cadabby as game content covers nutrition, counting, listening comprehension, color/shape identification, personal hygiene and recreation. Developers really had kids in mind when creating this high-quality learning experience. Game difficulty modifies to match a young one’s skill level. There are only touch-screen controls — no button pushing for players (parents can choose options using buttons). Young ones will love the included jumbo-size, click-pen stylus complete with soft grip and wrist strap, which is superb for use on other Nintendo DS games. Game instructions are given through audio, not text, and players can try games in consecutive order or individually. The four different profiles and optional Spanish language option are great, but hopefully the next installment will have just a bit more content to boost the replay value (***1/2, rated EC (early childhood), also available on Nintendo Wii which includes a second player assistance “drop-in” feature and special remote cover).
“Play & Learn Spanish” (Selectsoft Publishing/MPS)
Ideal for beginning Spanish speakers, this language tutorial features more than 700 commonly used words and phrases and is available as a download through the Nintendo DSiWare service and the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Players can use as many as four profiles in two main modes — game and learn. In the game mode players get three attempts to associate the correct items with the word within a performance points system. In the learn mode players make selections or listen to a list with accompanying Spanish audio. The game then presents three sub modes — common places, everyday language and family album.
The strong sound effects and balance make each occurrence clear while the striking visuals have helpful, distinguishing colors (***, rated E for alcohol reference).
End of the summer fun is still out there as Wipeout makes a splash on the Xbox 360 game console.
Wipeout: In the Zone (Activision)
By Tim Mackley
Based on the popular television show, after making good waves on the Nintendo Wii and a thud on Nintendo DS, the Wipeout game series expands to the Xbox 360 featuring exclusive use of the Kinect motion control system. This obstacle course competition game features multiplayer mode for up to four players (local not online), unlockable character, excellent replays, and Xbox Live avatar incorporation. This game is worth a try with more than 50 different obstacles, but falls a bit short on the fun. The obstacle courses are challenging and the replays can be entertaining, but the side-scrolling viewpoint makes the gameplay annoying as you try to avoid obstacles coming at you sideways. Commentary and quips from the show’s hosts John Anderson, John Henson and Jill Wagner boost the entertaining elements. Kids will enjoy the humor of it. Adults may want to pass (**1/2, rated E10+ for comic mischief and mild cartoon violence).