Build-a-Bear: Friendship Valley

Common Sense Media says

Great fun with good message, but with a tad of marketing.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Help others. Beautify your town. Stay active (but always wear the proper safety gear during sports). Make good friends. Respect nature (by always planting new saplings if you need to cut down a tree for wood). All of these noble messages outweigh the subtle "buy a Build-a-Bear doll" message.

Positive role models

Aside from their penchant for horrible bear-related puns, there isn't an ounce of negative behavior on display here. Even the "silly monkeys" who constantly misplace items you need to find always apologize for doing so.

Ease of play

The skateboarding mechanics can be a bit tricky at times, but not completely unmanageable. Other than that, all the controls work pretty well. And there's nothing younger kids should have difficulty understanding.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language

None. Unless you find "pawsome" annoying.

Consumerism

Aside from all of the characters being Build-a-Bear dolls, there's surprisingly little brand placement within the gameplay -- far less than we've seen in some older Build-a-Bear titles. But by performing certain unspecified acts in the game, players can win five prize codes that they can redeem on Buildabearville.com. Plus, the game disc itself comes packed with a $5 coupon for use at brick-and-mortat Build-a-Bear stores.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$24.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:March 26, 2010
Genre:Adventure
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Nintendo Wii)

This review of Build-a-Bear: Friendship Valley was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 8 years old August 3, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

chloediva100

i think it is brittey cool
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent Written byCooldee May 4, 2010
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

For all ages!

I love this game! Play it with your children!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 8 year old Written byafras April 14, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 
how did you get that my kids love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools