Iíve learned to trust some brand names in software based on the many reviews Iíve written and from personal purchases my family and I have made over the years.
BrÝderbund (famous for Print Shop) and The Learning Company are brands that are especially reliable and welcome to my computer. Thus, when given the chance to review a game with both labels, I started out with the preconceived notion that it would be a high quality product.
I was right and my granddaughters strongly supported this judgement. I must hedge a bit by saying that the 11-year-old found the game amusing but not particularly difficult and the 8-year-old enjoyed the game but zipped through the learning games.
Mojo Jojo is a bad guy and he has cloned himself and placed Townsville under attack. The mission the girls have is to defeat Mojo and restore order to the town by solving problems and building a collection of chips that help solve the word puzzle at the end.
The program lets each player enter their name and lets them save their work, so setting a time limit per child helps keep everyone interested although my two worked together on most of it.
The start screen has several options, so be sure that they select the one they want to avoid backing out of various locations. The Users Guide is a 39-page manual that contains helpful information (personal gripeó it would have been nice to have it included, but I know that this is the wave of today).
"Preview" is a thinly disguised advertisement for the Powderpuff Girls movie (also available on VHS and DVD) and the "Demo" will show the latest Scooby Doo product available for purchase.
You might want to encourage the kids to click on the heart next to the word "Play" and ignore the rest of the selections to help protect the pocketbook (yours, that is).
Play starts in the living room and the TV screen is the entry portal to the games within the overall game. The object of the game is to play the three included games to capture the clones and to get memory chips in order to get through the force field levels to defeat Mojo. The games require the use of math, vocabulary, and reading skills and offer quick reinforcement of correct answers. Clicking on the telephone located at the lower left will cause the receiver to extend, exposing several options for game play, including the ability to get help, see a demo of the play procedures, count points for printing out nice pictures for coloring, and to count the memory chips. There are five levels of difficulty to keep it more interesting and to make competition between different aged children more fair although the highest level wont be too difficult for the parent trying to keep up with the girls (personal experience)!
Once sufficient memory chips of each color are collected and available for use at the Codebreaker, the girls enjoyed trying to figure out the proper word to use and the demo really helped.
The end result is. . .We won! This game costs about $20 from the The Learning Company and is also available at most software outlets at various prices. I strongly recommend it for kids up to about nine based on the evaluation of my granddaughters. This is also a great game to stockpile for the summer school break to encourage the learning to continue.