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Children's Software Review:    Imaginext: Pirate Raiders (Fisher Price)

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We love the Fisher Price Imaginext building toy line. It has fantastic appeal to young children and parents like the idea that kids use thinking skills as they build toys that they can play with using their imagination. Two new software titles have been released based on the toy. This one, Pirate Raiders, is a satisfying game that is perhaps low on educational value (unlike the toy on which it is based), but it is enjoyable nonetheless. 

Young players are presented with a series of missions. The basic idea is to prove that they are "pirate material". As kids play, they win sacks of gold and crew members. They can exchange their sacks of gold for snazzy items to soup up their pirate ships--cannons, armor, sails, and the like. Missions include such things as finding treasure, capturing forts, and sinking and raiding ships. 

Throughout the adventure, kids are addressed as "captains"--very cute! They steer their ship using the computer arrow keys in activities such as the one pictured at left. They encounter sea monsters and enemy ships. At various points in the missions, kids can engage in trades, always keeping in mind how they can improve their ships. Raiding ships involves running along a deck, jumping over barrels, and collecting sacks of gold. Pictured above is a ship with some extra items (flags, sails, etc.) that our kid tester bought with the gold he earned. Choices are plentiful--this is a fun reward. 

Capturing forts involves shooting cannons that appear behind doors. A bit of target practice is the name of this game. Game elements vary a little from one game to the next, so the replay value is above average. All in all, the program is satisfying. 

The controls are likely to be tricky for kids younger than 4 or 5, so there is a bit of a mismatch between the toy line and the CD-ROM. The software has many missions and doesn't run out of steam as quickly as many titles on the market, however, and our testers didn't want to stop playing.  


[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Fisher-Price Imaginext Pirate Raider]


  • Fun graphics.
  • Involving, satisfying gameplay.
  • Some elements are randomized, helping to boost replay value.


  • Low educational value. 
  • A little tricky for children younger than 4 or 5.




For Win/Mac By: Vivendi Universal  Ages 4-8 Published: 2003




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Reviewed September 2003                                                                                            Comments? Email us.

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