By Christopher Healy,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Imaginative sci-fi RPG entertains as it builds vocabulary.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn a plethora of advanced vocabulary words in this cute sci-fi adventure. In a quest to thwart an alien invasion, the boy or girl hero explores and chats with scores of characters, all of whom use big words. Kids pick up the words' meaning through context clues. Later, they use those same words to progress the story. Words are treated the way treasures (or even weapons) are in other games; using them at choice moments allows kids to advance. Kids grow their vocabulary in a fun way by collecting new words to defeat aliens.
The message of the story is one of friendship and loyalty, as the hero tries to find his/her lost dog (and also befriends a robot along the way). The overall message of the game is that a strong vocabulary is indispensable and can help you get through life.
Positive Role Models
The protagonist (who can be male or female) is a loyal friend and a selfless hero, who searches far and wide for his/her dog and voluntarily helps defeat the alien invasion he/she discovers in the process.
Ease of Play
The battle controls are very easy to use, and the general explore-and-chat role-playing aspect is certainly simple enough. Some of the vocabulary used in the text may be challenging -- but that's the entire point of the game.
Violence & Scariness
Your robot buddy will engage in duels with evil robots. The play is turn-based, in a style similar to Pokemon, where the player chooses "attack" or "defend" for each turn. Some attacks will show the enemy robot getting electrically shocked or blasted by a ray of some kind.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cosmos Chaos is an excellent vocabulary-building game set in an exciting (but completely family-friendly) sci-fi environment. As kids move their hero through the story, they will interact with many interesting characters. The people they talk to in the game will use advanced vocabulary words, and the child will have to pick the appropriate response, based on his or her knowledge of the words used. There is also an action aspect to the game, though, as kids can lead their character's robot helper through turn-based battles against evil robots. The robots will be seen getting damaged by electric shocks, lasers, or whirlwinds, but the action is very cartoony.
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What’s It About?
The story that frames Cosmos Chaos follows a young hero (you can choose to be a boy or a girl) who loses her dog after seeing a UFO. As she hunts through desert towns, talking to odd and interesting characters to get clues, she learns of a dastardly alien robot invasion plot by the evil Dr. Z. With the help of a good robot friend, she not only continues the search for her pet, but acts to stop the bad guys as well. The exploration and interview portion of the game is played out by the hero choosing how to properly answer questions posed by the other characters -- questions that use advanced vocabulary. If kids don't know the words, they can explore the setting, checking the descriptions of items around them, and see the words used in context to figure out their meanings. There are also turn-based robot battles that occur throughout, adding an element of action.
Is It Any Good?
Cosmos Chaos presents a truly original and thoroughly entertaining way for kids to expand their vocabularies. The game has a fun, whimsical, very amusing storyline that kids will enjoy regardless of any educational content -- and the addition of Pokemon-style battles shows that the developers know their audience. The real genius of Cosmo Chaos, though, is in the way it uses vocabulary-building techniques, presenting them as a pivotal part of the gameplay, and doing so in an enjoyable format that kids will actually want to partake in. Through point-and-click exploration, kids will pick up loads of new words, buried in the cleverly-written descriptions of the virtual world around them (and they'll store these collected words, like prizes, in their inventory). Then when they speak with other characters in order to pick up clues or earn missions, they'll need to show that they learned how to properly use those new words they've collected. It's fun, and it works.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the fighting aspect of the game. Does violence have any place in an educational game? Is the impact of the violence here lessened by the game's cartooniness, or the fact that the combatants are robots?
Ask kids if they enjoy learning though video games. If education comes to kids via a video game, are they more or less likely to retain what the learn?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading comprehension, using supporting evidence, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, collecting data
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Mentor Interactive
- Release date: October 12, 2010
- Genre: Edutainment
- ESRB rating: E for Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: August 30, 2016
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