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 is an open-ended game with no goal other than to explore making music and art. It contains no objectionable content, and could spawn creativity and interest in the arts. One downside to be aware of: Kids can't save their work.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
With ELECTROPLANKTON, players use both the stylus and their voice to compose music. Electroplankton are tiny musical creatures that live in an ocean inside your Nintendo DS. By touching them with your stylus or singing, you can help them compose music. Players can watch musical plankton in the audience mode or interact with them in performance mode.
In performance mode, players choose to create music with 10 kinds of plankton. With the Tracy plankton, for example, you draw a line on the touch-sensitive screen and the Tracy plankton will follow or \"trace\" the lines. There are six colors of Tracy plankton, each producing its own tone. The player can influence the tone by drawing from left to right to make the sound go higher or from right to left to make the sound go lower.
Is it any good?
This is the creation of Toshio Iwai, the talent behind the 1996 award-winning SimTunes computer simulation game. It's a compelling playground in which to explore music. Playing with the plankton is fascinating because each of the 10 kinds produces music in different ways, and all of the music is accompanied by mesmerizing visuals.
Electroplankton will enthrall kids who enjoy exploring sights and sounds in an unstructured environment. It will not hold the interest of kids seeking structure and winning. A minor frustration is that kids can't save their compositions, nor can they combine two kinds of plankton. Nonetheless, this is a magical way to explore the components of music.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which plankton they like best and why. Families may want to play together: Since you can't save the amazing sights and sounds you create, it's good to have an audience while you play. Parents of older kids can talk about this innovative title. How is it unique? Are you bothered by not having a goal here -- or do you find it refreshing?
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