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Children's Video Game Review:

Animal Genius for Nintendo DS

Video Game Review: Animal Genius
Children's Video Game for Nintendo DS

By Activision

Our Recommended Age: Ages 4-9

Released: 2009

Our Rating: B+

about our reviews:
All reviews at Edutaining Kids are independent and impartial. Our children's video game reviews are designed to help parents and caregivers find the right games for their kids. Evaluations and ratings are based on educational and entertainment value, age appropriate content, and innovativeness.

This educational title's aim is to teach and entertain young children. But does it take a genius to play?

There are many video games on the market today that attempt to fulfill parents' demands for educational entertainment instead of mindless drivel. Most seem to fail at both objectives--the learning aspects tend to be off-putting for kids while the gaming aspects just aren't entertaining enough. The Nintendo DS title Animal Genius is one of the better games in this niche, especially for very young novice gamers.

The basic premise of the game is for a player to collect 25 different animals for five geographical areas. In order to collect them, the player has to win points by playing through four different mini-games--Maze Munch, Scratch ‘N See, Creature Collector, and Matchomatic.

Maze Munch is a basic puzzle game where the player has to guide an animal through a maze to its food source. In Scratch 'N See, the player rubs at the touch screen to reveal an animal picture. Creature Collector is a matching game in which the player chooses the animal that matches a certain criteria. Matchomatic is another matching game where players drag animals to their proper locations on the top screen.

Once kids earn enough points to collect an animal, they have to answer 10 yes/no questions to unlock that animal. The questions are fairly rudimentary, like "does a parrot have feathers?", but the trick is to answer the questions within the time limit. Once the player has unlocked an animal, the next animal requires more points to unlock, which extends the play time somewhat.

Rated E for everyone with the caveat of some comic mischief, the simple, colorful presentation and the easy gameplay make this game especially delightful for small children. The joy for parents is the educational aspect, with plenty of animal facts for the kids to learn and even some assistance in teaching children to read.

There is one area in the Maze Munch that may be vaguely disturbing to some children, where the lion leaps upon a zebra to devour it, but that area is easily avoided. The only other downside is the lack of challenge and replay value--the mini-games are very simple to play and once the player has collected all 25 animals, there's no solid reason to return. Children in the single digits should find this game adorably engaging for a few days, though it doesn’t take a genius to play Animal Genius.



  • Educational and entertaining at once.
  • Good for very young children.


  • Lacking in replay value.
  • Lack of depth and challenge.


Our Rating:


more information:

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Animal Genius for the Nintendo DS

Reviewed: July 2009

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Gift Guides for Kids 5-8

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Animal Genius for DS


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