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Children's Software Review:    Barbie Sparkling Ice Show


Unlike some of the more complex Barbie sports titles, Barbie Sparkling Ice Show is easy enough to master for a 4-5 year old. The program's three levels (easy, medium, or expert) allow children approximately 4-8 to find derive some enjoyment and challenge from the game. 

The graphics are beautifully done and engaging. But be particularly concerned with the minimum system requirements: you will need a 3D graphics accelerator video card with 8 MB of memory and DirectX 8.1-compatible driver. This game wouldn't work on our older test machines. 

The basic idea of the game is this: players lead Barbie and/or two of her friends through an international ice tour. There are 5 different themed rinks to master (such as the Rose Garden or Island Paradise), and as each is complete, the next opens up. For each stop on the "international tour", kids must pick a skater (Barbie or either of her two friends), a skating "style" (which actually defines the difficulty level), and a routine (such as the City Girl Twirl). Then they are off to practice on the ice. On the easy level, children need only pay attention to the color of the trail that the skater follows and match the color on the skate meter using the up and down keyboard arrows. Barbie never falls down and always performs the "tricks" successfully on this first level. On the medium level, kids still need to change the skate meter as the trail color changes, but they also need to strategically tap the spacebar as she skates over a large snowflake on the rink. This controls her tricks. Expert level requires the same controls as the medium level but with the addition of left-right arrow keys for keeping the skater on the trails. On this level, Barbie falls down when the spacebar is not tapped at the correct time.

Once players have gone through the practice run successfully, they can pick the skater's costume, the color of the rink (different shades of pastel colors are offered), 3D decorations for the rink (such as harps and unicorns for the Sky rink pictured at left, or polar bears and snowmen for the Winterland rink), and music for the performance. That done, kids control the skater in the performance.

As each new rink is opened up, an Exhibition Area allows players to take part in "encore" performances of previous stops on the tour. The final rink is a "magical" one--Skating in the Sky. This final stop on the tour allows children to create their own routine for the first time.

The game is very easy to understand and control, but it is also exceptionally easy to complete in one afternoon. Although children are free to return to any stop on the tour and select different props, costumes, and difficulty levels, many young players will tire of the game far too quickly. For this reason, children ages 4-6 will likely get the most out of the game, simply because some kids in this age group enjoy repeating activities over and over. Purchasing the game for kids older than 6 may be disappointing. However, for younger Barbie fans, the game is very accessible and quite fun while it lasts.

Note: You will need a 3D graphics accelerator video card with 8 MB of memory and DirectX 8.1-compatible driver.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Barbie Sparkling Ice Show


  • Very appealing, easy-to-learn game.
  • Graphics are engaging.
  • Is the easiest to master Barbie Sports game available for children ages 4-6.


  • Replay value is questionable.

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Published: 2002 By: Vivendi Ages 6-9 Win



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Reviewed January 2003   Comments? Email us.


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