What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this video game is based on an American Girl doll. It features Kit Kittredge, the same character from Valerie Tripp's Meet Kit: An American Girl 1934 book, which is the source for the film version Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. And while it's released at the same time as the movie, this game doesn't recreate the story of the book or movie. The main focus of this game is the playing of six casual games. Kids will hear period music playing, meet characters from the book, and see scenes depicting the inside of Kit's house, which are beautifully drawn to reveal the time period, but the rest of the game is just an excuse to play arcade-type games. American Girl doll fans may be disappointed with the lack of focus on Kit's character. This game comes in a boxed version sold at stores, but it's also downloadable.
What's it about?
With the film release of Kit Kittredge: American Girl based on the Valerie Tripp book Meet Kit: An American Girl 1934, the American Girl doll Kit Kittredge has become all the rage. This game, AMERICAN GIRL KIT: A TREE HOUSE OF MY OWN, features Kit, but in a limited manner. In this game, Kit's tree house (which is prominently used in the movie version) has not yet been built and the focus of the game is for Kit to earn six tools so that she can build her tree house. Kit earns the tools by helping six people by playing six casual games. In one, you help Kit's mom make pancakes for the boarders by combining ingredients and cooking them in a limited time. This gameplay is very similar to the play patterns that made the Cooking Mama series so popular. The other games include a word scramble, a side-scrolling game where you collect musical notes, a shoot-balloons game where the goal is to clear a screen of colored balloons by matching colors, a catch-dropping-laundry-into-a-basket game, and one in which you draw circles around moving chickens.
Is it any good?
Since these casual games each offer 20 levels of gameplay, after you have earned the tools by completing the first level, you can earn decorations for the tree house if you keep working your way through the levels. Our testers didn't consider this much motivation to keep playing, and only kept playing those games that they were interested in. The falling-laundry game wasn't much fun, but the shoot-the-balloons game rocked. And you have to like word scrambles to keep working through that game.
Wrapping a Kit Kittredge storyline around this series of casual games doesn't work very well because the game doesn't focus on Kit's story. She is a plucky heroine who rises above her difficult circumstances of facing financial ruin when her father loses his job during the Great Depression. Basing a Kit game around playing arcade games just doesn't feel right. It trivializes Kit's powerful story and character and seems like a poor use of a great license.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the Great Depression, the time period in which Kit grew up. Did you learn anything about that time period from this game? Do you think the character of Kit Kittredge was important to this game, or could it have been about any branded character?