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Children's Software Review:    Dora the Explorer Animal Adventures

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Beautiful screens and fairly fun activities can be found in the latest CD-ROM starring Dora the Explorer, but the software is a little confusing. The goal is to find all the lost animals after a big storm, but testers were confused--when they thought they had completed all the activities and found the animals, nothing happened. The software didn't give them any clue as to what they should do in order to complete the adventure.

The object of the game is to help Dora's friend, Diego, find lost animals. When children sign in, they set up their field journal, and this is where all the animals they find appear as the adventure progresses. 

Children visit the River Bank Habitat and look for hidden animals, such as the anaconda and giant anteater, and then take their picture. The Rainforest Canopy Habitat and Understory Habitat activities are similar--kids find tree frogs, fruit bats, and macaws, and if they click on the animals more than once, they learn a little bit about them. A matching game with nocturnal animals is another activity, and kids feed the animals specific quantities of leaves and fruit at the animal rescue center. One especially cute activity involves leading Dora up a tree. In order to save an animal, kids need to make Dora crawl like a snake, climb like a spider, and hop like a frog at the appropriate spots in her path. Another activity involves leading Dora down a river (to save an animal, of course!) with the help of a river dolphin.

The activities have 3 levels of difficulty. Children collect stars at any point in the game, and if they click on Backpack, they can count the stars they've found in either English or Spanish. Kids can also participate in a "habitat maker" art activity. 

The program is rather fun, but it does suffer from an ambiguous goal. Although kids know they need to rescue animals, it is not clear exactly how much they need to do in order to complete the mission. 


[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Dora the Explorer: Animal Adventures]


See more screenshots from the game, along with our notes here.

  • Pretty graphics, sing-along songs, and easy activities.
  • A little bit of Spanish.
  • Three difficulty levels extend the life of the program.
  • Encouraging feedback.


  • Although the goal of the program is clearly defined, how to reach that goal is not. 




For Win/Mac By: Atari  Ages 3-5 Published: 2003




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Reviewed September 2003                                                                                            Comments? Email us.

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