Based on John Deere children's books, which in turn is based on
real John Deere Machines, this computer game for young children
features an assortment of activities that allows children to
interact with bulldozers, loaders, graders, and more. These machines
have personality--each character has a name and expressive eyes, and
has something to say, too.
Some of the activities are free-play, such as the one pictured at
the top of this review. This interactive screen allows kids to point
and click for simple activities (such as moving flower pots) and
introductions to the various machines. Each character introduces
itself and tells kids what it can do. For example, Luke Loader
lifts, Eddy Excavator digs holes and trenches, and so forth.
Two of the games--the best of the bunch--actively develop kids'
thinking skills. "Fix the Bridge" (pictured directly above) involves
helping Luke Loader re-build a bridge by finding the correct bridge
piece from a set of four. Kids must complete the bridge against the
clock, but it's a lenient clock! This game is strong because on
"normal" and "hard" levels, kids view the pieces at a different
angle and must use their brains in order to find the piece that
fits. Color coding is removed on the "hard" level.
Another activity that has educational value is pictured directly
above and involves selecting pipes, also color-coded, and placing
them where they belong before Danny Dozer fills in the hole. On the
"hard" level, kids view the color first and then it is hidden, which
forces them to use memory skills. At first, we were surprised that
after only one mistake, kids have to start again from scratch.
However, this fact actually motivated kid testers to want to play
again and again.
One activity, Help Build the Library, involved rather tricky
controls for the targeted age group. Kids need to direct Danny Dozer
in order to clean up a construction zone, and getting him to the
correct spot was found to be a real challenge. Again, this fact
actually motivated children to keep on playing. Sandbox Play Zone is
a simple free-play activity that allows children to select a machine
and perform actions such as lifting rocks and dirt, dumping the load
somewhere else, and cleaning up the piles. Kids need to use the
spacebar in this activity. Finally, Surprise Delivery involves
leading J. T. Tractor through a maze as he collects flower pots.
Design features that we liked include difficulty levels that can be
selected globally and adjusted for individual games as well, and a
sign-in feature that allows kids to pick up where they left off.
System requirements are reasonable. However, we have a few
complaints with the game, the largest being its written directions.
We are unsure why a game designed for young children who are not yet
fluent readers doesn't include audio instructions and help. We also
found gameplay a little slow and choppy despite playing on computers
with more than adequate system requirements. Finally, the reward
system involves unlocking coloring pages. Unfortunately, these are
printable coloring pages--not interactive ones.
- The game's puzzles offer a very good workout for the young
- Relatively low system requirements.
- Multiple difficulty levels.
- Problems with instructions and help: they are not spoken,
and children in the targeted age group are not yet fluent
More screenshots from
For more information, user reviews, or to buy:
John Deere: Busy Days in Deerfield Valley
Reviewed: October 2005