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Build-a-Bear: Friendship Valley
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Build-a-Bear: Friendship Valley is a very well made game for younger players, and should be enjoyable for kids even if they aren't already fans of the Build-a-Bear line. There is a heavy amount of text, though (strangely, the narration has voiceover, but the dialogue does not), so pre-readers may need a parent or older sibling to help them through. Also,while Friendship Valley would work perfectly as a non-licensed game, parents should not ignore the fact that it is one -- and that the game offers coupons and codes to further entice children into the Build-a-Bear world.
What's it about?
In BUILD-A-BEAR: FRIENDSHIP VALLEY, the player takes the part of one of the \"furry friends\" who reside in a dainty town full of stuffed animals. He or she will join neighbors in beautifying the neighborhood and preparing for a grand festival. The player will travel about town (and into the fields and forests beyond), running errands for friends in need. These tasks may entail planting flowers, delivering messages, finding lost items, baking desserts, playing a round of basketball, or any number of other activities. For each task performed, the player is rewarded with medals that can be spent in town to buy new clothes, new furnishings for a customizable house, or various other items for generally prettying-up the place. Several of the activities in the main game can also be played with up to four people as multiplayer mini-games.
Is it any good?
Build-a-Bear: Friendship Valley is a good looking, easy playing, well designed game for younger players. There's a ton to do and so much is customizable (from your bear's bed to the flower beds outside City Hall), that kids will get long, long hours of playtime guaranteed. This is a game in which you can go fishing, build a bus stop, pick apples, bake cakes, and grind along a rail in a skate park. The atmosphere, the characters, and the messages in the game are all utterly wholesome. Of course, the fact that coupon-codes for the Build-a-Bear website are awarded to players during the game has a somewhat unsavory feel to it. It's one disappointing aspect to an otherwise great game.
Online interaction: The game itself is not online enabled, however players can win codes that they can use to unlock prizes on the Buildabearville.com website.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about volunteerism and helping out in one's own community. In the game, the residents of Friendship Valley all help each other out and work together to make their town a better, prettier, happier place. What can families do to better their own towns? Or to help their own neighbors who may be in need?
Families can talk about why the Build-a-Bear company wanted to make this game. How does this game help the Build-a-Bear stores? Why do companies try to sell to kids?
For kids who love playing in virtual worlds
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.