A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this party game has mild, humorous cartoon violence in which jungle animals get a few bruises. The game is targeted at kids and designed to encourage them to play in groups of up to four. Most of the Mini games are extremely simple to grasp and verbal instructions are provided for each activity, so kids as young as 6 can play. The game must be played with Sony's easy-to-use Buzzer controllers.
What's it about?
The back of the BUZZ! JUNIOR: JUNGLE PARTY box, which features a picture of a quartet of kids wielding Sony's five-button Buzzer controllers in active poses, might make you think that this PlayStation 2 game has an interface similar to titles available for the Wii. But these Mini games require none of the wrist-twisting and arm-flailing antics associated with many Wii games; a speedy thumb will suffice. Kids may only move their digits, but they're still likely to get a kick out of most of Jungle Party's two dozen or so activities.
Raindance, for instance, is a compelling rhythm game that involves pressing the red button in time with scrolling icons to make your monkey dance. Also fun is Ostrich Egg, which has players sneaking up on a large avian to pilfer her egg, stopping and playing it cool whenever her beak pops up out of the sand. All of the games take less than a minute to learn and are suitable for ages 6 and up.
Is it any good?
While Jungle Party's games are uniformly easy to figure out, some are a lot harder to master than others. This disparity can be frustrating and unfair, especially if one player in a group has spent more time with the game than others in the group. Also bothersome is the fact that Sony forces players to use its simple, game show-like Buzzer controllers; while these devices are well suited to the game, the option to use a standard PlayStation 2 controller would have been nice.
These issues are annoying, but Buzz! Junior: Jungle Party delivers enough fun extras -- including an engaging score-based single-player game mode, monkey outfits to unlock, and customizable multiplayer games -- to keep it on the right side of recommendable. Put simply, it's a bit of mindless and goofy interactive entertainment that's both safe for and accessible to most kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between playing a game by yourself and playing with a group of friends. Do you enjoy testing your game skills against computer-controlled opponents in a single-player game, or do you prefer the more social experience of going up against human opponents? Do you like the simple Buzzer controllers more than the complex gamepads typically used in console games? Which party game did you like most?
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