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~~June 2004~~

Our favorite Dragon Tales software to date!

coverDragon Tales: Learn & Fly with Dragons will be released on June 15th. We've had a chance to test the game for a few months, and we're quite pleased with it. Aimed at children ages 4-6 (4-5 is our recommendation), this program features a combination of creative and mediocre games. The games that impressed us are enough to recommend the game and give it an A-. Cute graphics, focus on important early learning skills, and good replay value! See our full review.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Dragon Tales: Learn & Fly With Dragons]

 

A playground of sounds

coverMorton Subotnick's Hearing Music is a "playground of sounds", a software designed to help children identify different parts of music, and hear the nuances in a melody, amongst other things. Children participate in four multi-level games that involve matching, ordering, reading, and comparing musical phrases and pieces. We found the program very good at what it sets out to do. Read our full review of the program for more information.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Hearing Music-The Game that Teaches You how to Listen!]

 

 

 

~~May 2004~~

Frogger is back!

coverMost parents remember Frogger--the addictive game that involved getting a frog across streets and rivers safely. Now Frogger stars in an adventure that features the same type of hop and dodge action, but this time around it's set to a story line. Kids need to collect clues, solve puzzles, and embark on mini-quests across multiple levels with Frogger's Adventure: The Rescue by Konami. Video game action and adventure all rolled into one.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Frogger's Adventures: The Rescue.]

 

 

~~April 2004~~

Shrek 2!

Shrek 2 games by Activision are now available for the PC, Nintendo's GameCube, GameBoy Advance, PS2, and XBox. 

Shrek 2 takes players on a twisted fairy tale adventure with Shrek and friends, revisiting locations from the movie sequel while discovering all-new locations and characters. Players can control their team of four and play as Shrek or any of his 10 friends, switching between each to best utilize the character’s unique abilities to solve puzzles, fight monsters and complete wild and dangerous adventures. Humorous dialogue, multiplayer options, and mini-quests are featured. The screenshot shown here is from the GameCube version.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Shrek 2 (PS2), Shrek 2 (GameCube), Shrek 2 (XBox), Shrek 2 (GBA) or Shrek 2: The Game ( Windows ) (CD-ROM).]

 

Children's Favorite Characters Come to the PC

coverTwo new software packages have been released by THQ, based on children's movies and television shows. Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed features an adventure that incorporates scenes from the live-action movie. Children covercollect clues and play mini-games as they attempt to track down the bad guys. Two previously released titles starring SpongeBob Squarepants are bundled in SpongeBob Squarepants: Krusty Collection. This package includes two adventure-style games (Employee of the Month - see our review; and Operation Krabby Patty) that stay true to the popular televisions series. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Scooby Doo Two: Monsters Unleashed or SpongeBob SquarePants: Krusty Kollection]

 

~~March 2004~~

Here are some of the latest releases in children's/family software and video games. 


New Adventures with Barbie, Tonka, and Dragon Tales

coverNew software programs to be released in March include Mermaid Barbie Adventure, in which kids join Barbie on her undersea adventures filled with mazes and activities (see our review); Dragon Tales: Fly With Dragons; SpongeBob SquarePants: Bikini Bundle; and Tonka FireFighter, that puts children in the driver's seat of their favorite fire trucks, fire dozer, and choppers. They must complete important jobs, including (of course) putting out fires and saving stranded people and pets! 

A new bundle from Disney Interactive has been released as well: Princess Collection 2004, which includes three previously released titles: Cinderella's Dollhouse, Cinderella's Castle Designer, and Princess Magical Dress-Up.

~~February 2004~~

Outstanding Music-Learning Software

We loved the original Music Ace and Music Ace 2 software programs that featured music lessons for children. Now a new product has been released by Harmonic Vision that culls 36 lessons from the excellent series into one product, Music Ace Deluxe. Carefully sequenced, engaging lessons teach children rhythm, pitch, note-reading, music theory, and keyboarding skills. An animated tutor guides children through lessons and games, carefully and systematically teaching them new skills. Also included is the series' Music Doodle Pad that allows kids to compose and play back their own tunes. This product is excellent for beginning music students, and is especially helpful as a complement to early music classes. See our full review of this product.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Music Ace Deluxe]

 

~~January 2004/December 2003~~


Cat in the Hat

The "new" Cat in the Hat feature film is hilarious for both adults and kids. This game for the PC features fun graphics and a variety of games, including the one pictured at right--an arcade-style activity in which kids use the keyboard controls to move the infamous Cat through levels, jumping, bubble-blasting "enemies", collecting keys from Thing 1 and Thing 2, and more. Unusual and compelling, this game has broad appeal with layers of humor. Full review coming soon.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Cat in the Hat in the US or Cat in the Hat in Canada.]

 

Mario Kart: Racing Fervor!

coverMario Kart Double Dash! is available for Nintendo's GameCube--and it's as entertaining as video games get. The "double" in the name of this exciting racing game means that players can race in a kart that holds two players--one drives and the other sits in the rear making use of power-ups and weapons designed to slow down other players. Players race around tracks in Mushroom Kingdom, shooting projectiles like banana peels and turtle shells. New weapons and characters are featured, and kids use some strategy as they choose, and switch, characters in a race. Kids can't stop playing this exciting, action-filled racing game. It's ideal for families and groups of children--kids can play cooperatively and/or vie against each other. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Mario Kart: Double Dash!! in the US or Mario Kart: Double Dash!! in Canada.]

 

Little Bill Thinks Big!

coverThinking skills necessary for success in early math are boosted in Little Bill Thinks Big, a computer game based on the popular Nick Jr. television series conceived by Bill Cosby. Original voiceovers help create authenticity, and a positive theme of sharing and caring boost the value of this game that kids will enjoy playing--more than once! Children can play the game in each of the four seasons of the year for different surprises. See our full review here for more information and screenshots from the game.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Little Bill Thinks Big.]

 

 

~~November 2003~~

Here are some of the latest releases in children's/family software and video games. 


Sweet as Sugar?

coverStrawberry Shortcake has made a comeback. The sugary sweet doll stars in a new educational CD-ROM designed for children ages 4-6, accompanied by her sometimes reluctant pet cat Custard. Four activities are featured in Strawberry Shortcake: Amazing Cookie Party: kids get to surf through a river of fudge on a graham cracker, solve "contraption" puzzles, bake cookies according to recipes, and build cake houses. The ultimate goal is to make enough cookies for a special tea party. Although there are not many activities, two of the games are clever in terms of educational value. For the most part, kids develop logical thinking skills. The graphics are delightfully fresh and inviting, but the gameplay comes up a little short. See our screenshot gallery for a peek into the game and our full review for more information.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Strawberry Shortcake Amazing Cookie Party at Amazon.com]


coverFist-fighting, weapon-wielding skeletons, pirate zombies, annoying imps, and haunted furniture are just some of the "ghoulies" Cooper, the boy-hero of Grabbed By the Ghoulies for the XBox, has to contend with after an evil Baron captures Cooper's girlfriend in his very haunted house. This video game is absolutely hilarious--and it's accessible to younger, perhaps less experienced, gamers as well. Ideal for the whole family, this humorous, graphically-rich beat-'em-up game is entertaining, gently challenging for kids, and hilarious fun. Very satisfying game! If your family doesn't already own an XBox, this game could easily become your motivation to get one. Highly recommended! See our full review of the game.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Grabbed By The Ghoulies at Amazon.com]


New Disney CD-ROMs!

coverBased on the new Disney feature film, an animated comedy/adventure set against the Great American Northwest, Disney's Brother Bear is a real-time 3D CD-ROM that allows children to immerse themselves in an interactive version of Kenai's world. Kids play as Kenai and Koda as bears. The target audience for this new PC game (Windows only) is ages 3 and up. Our full review is coming soon. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Brother Bear at Amazon.com. In Canada, buy Brother Bear at Amazon.ca.]

Also available, Disney's Brother Bear for Game Boy Advance, a platform side-scrolling adventure game with more than 15 levels and featuring cut scenes from the film.

 

coverDisney Princess: Royal Horse Show is a new CD-ROM that involves helping Disney Princesses Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty prepare for the Royal Horse Show. Kids groom and dress their horses, decorate the fair grounds, train the horses, and even ride them at the Royal Fairgrounds. The game includes a "My Princess Desktop Pony" (a desktop pony friend) to care for.  See our full review of the game, as well as screenshots

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Disney Princess Royal Horse Show at Amazon.com. In Canada, buy Disney Princess Royal Horse Show at Amazon.ca.]

 

coverThe Lion King Classic Game Collection, a 3 CD-ROM bundle of "classic" Lion King games, is actually a great deal. One of our favorite children's typing programs is included: Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa is great for kids ages 7 and up. It gets children practicing a rather crucial skill in today's world of technological savvy. The game reinforces and teaches the all-important finger placement rules, as well as such things as editing mistakes and both speed and accuracy are honed as kids play arcade-style games. Two other just-for-fun CD-ROMs are also included: Disney's Active Play, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and Pumbaa's Jungle Games.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Lion King Classic Collection at Amazon.com. In Canada, buy Lion King Classic Collection at Amazon.ca.]


More Archives:

July 2003-October 2003

April-June 2003

February/March 2003

December 2002/January 2003

November 2002

October 2002

August/September 2002

June/July 2002

May, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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