your kids have seen the new direct-to-video CGI-animated Barbie
movie or not, if they're Barbie fans, they'll enjoy this sweet
CD-ROM. Barbie of Swan Lake CD-ROM borrows characters and
settings (Barbie as Odette and Lila the Unicorn, and the Enchanted
Forest, respectively) from the movie, and effectively
"enchants" children with gentle and creative games.
While some movie tie-in CD-ROMs
reenact story lines, this program simply offers children a fun
creative time in a rich setting. The program's graphics are
stunning--lush and truly enchanting--and the audio track adds to
the peaceful atmosphere.
The story behind the game is
simple--Lila the unicorn is preparing a Moonlight Picnic for her
friend, Odette (Barbie), but has accidentally removed the magic
from the Enchanted Forest. This is where young players step in--it
is their job to restore the magic to the forest. At sign-in, kids
are told of the special occasion. Humans, you see, are not
normally allowed entry into the forest. Their mission is clear,
and kids set out to re-enchant, if you will, the five areas of the
five areas of the forest that are in need of restoration include
the likes of Swan Lake, Flower Tree, and Fairy Valley. At the
outset, each area looks dismal and drab, but with the help of
magical wands, children can dress up the environments with lush
and rich details.
Each area of the forest is home
to a special activity. One involves solving a "Reflection
Puzzle", another requires sorting swan eggs according to
their color and patterns and then feeding the hatching swans (see
picture at left), and so forth. One especially clever activity
involves planting flowers in a planter. Kids need to listen to the
tunes that each flower plays in order to determine whether they
play a part in the Tchaikovsky song Odette plays. This activity is
a pleasant exercise in audio discrimination.
need to find six special hidden items in each area of the forest
in order to earn each of the five magical wands required to give
the forest a complete magical makeover. Once the six items are
found in any given area, kids are transported to the Magic Vault
(pictured at right) where they pay attention to a secret recipe
that will effectively enchant their new wand. Each wand has its
own special properties, such as the Rainbow Wand that allows kids
to paint areas of the forest in a glorious rainbow hue. Bottles in
the Magic Vault flash in a specific order and kids need to repeat
that order in order to enchant their wand.
It is sometimes difficult to find
special items and to know when a specific area is completely
decorated (or "enchanted"), but with a little patience,
most children will enjoy these quiet, pleasant activities. The
overall effect of the game is a soothing one, so even when kids
get stuck, they generally move on to another area before returning
to complete an area with a fresh mind.
screenshots and notes from the game)
[For more information, user
reviews, or to buy: Barbie of Swan Lake]
- Nice design.
- Gorgeous and immersive
- Soothing and calming
program that provides light and pleasant entertainment.
- Low educational value
and occasionally frustrating game play.
||By: Vivendi Universal