Build-a-Bear: Welcome to Hugsville

 
Fun mini-games, but website codes as rewards are troubling.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Helping out friends and beautifying your hometown are the two main goals of the game. Somewhat strangely, "helping" your neighbors, in most cases, means playing a game with them, but that's a minor point.

Positive role models

The furry residents of Hugsville are ceaselessly polite, friendly, and helpful. There is no negativity to be found in this town.

Ease of play

The only possible difficulty comes in the itty-bitty size of the onscreen characters during some of the minigame activities. Other than that, the game is simple to learn and easy to control. The difficulty level for younger players is set just right.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Unlike some previous Build-a-Bear games, the brand, its logo, and its stores are not integral parts of the gameplay. However, players are "rewarded" for certain in-game actions with codes they can use on the Buildabearville.com website. And the game card itself comes packed with a $5 coupon that can be redeemed at brick-and-mortat Build-a-Bear stores.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, while Build-a-Bear: Welcome to Hugsville focuses on fun gameplay rather than commercialism, the game is inherently tied to the Build-a-Bear franchise and does draw children to the Buildabearville.com website by awarding secret codes that are only usable on that site. Outside of the codes and coupons, though, the game would be equally enjoyable to both Build-a-Bear fans and kids who are not familiar with the plush toy line.

What's it about?

In BUILD-A-BEAR: WELCOME TO HUGSVILLE, the player takes on the part of a new resident to a town of cuddly stuffed animals. The mayor, Bearamy, asks for help in making the neighborhood prettier by planting lots of flowers and trees. He also asks the player to help out his or her new friends by playing with each animal at his or her signature game. These mini-games may involve hunting for treasure, navigating a maze, running a race, gathering golden pawprints, driving a car, or sketching a picture. By playing the games enough times, the player can unlock new areas and gain access to more furry friends, each with their own new mini-games. Throughout the story, the player will also be called upon to build usable items, like a scooter, a car, and even his or her own house.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Build-a-Bear: Welcome to Hugsville presents itself as a story, and has some role-playing elements, but is essentially a collection of mini-games. The mini-games themselves are fun ones, many covering classic playground activities like tag. The play control is fine on most of the mini-games, though the small size of the DS screen is a detriment to a few of them, in which wee little character icons may make you squint a bit. The way the game is set up requires you to play through several levels of the same few mini-games before you even have the opportunity to open up new areas and earn new mini-games; the forced repetition may also be a source of frustration for some players. On the positive side, though, the ability to build and customize your own home and vehicles is a very nice touch, as is the chance to build up and personalize the flora of your virtual land. The online codes that can draw players onto the Buildabearville.com website don't affect gameplay, but are sure to be a cause of concern for some parents.

Online interaction: While the game itself is not online enabled, players can "win" codes that are redeemable on the Buildabearville.com website, which could encourage young kids to want to go online.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they can do in real life to beautify their home and community. Planting flowers and trees in order to improve the town is an important part of the game. Why is it so important? And how can kids translate that goal into their offline lives?

Game details

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

This review of Build-a-Bear: Welcome to Hugsville was written by

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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.

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Kid, 12 years old January 15, 2011
age 2+
 

WHAT THE?!?!?!?!!!

I was just playing this game when suddenly- no I shouldn't repeat it. I think it might have been a glitch, but it was just like, wrong. I am not aloud to play this game anymore.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent of a 8 year old Written byvelveta December 23, 2010
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 November 11, 2012
age 7+
 

build bear welcome hugsville

Families can talk about what they can do in real life to beautify their home and community. Planting flowers and trees in order to improve the town is an important part of the game. Why is it so important? And how can kids translate that goal into their offline lives?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Easy to play/use

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