Emma in the Mountains
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is more of an interactive story than it is a video game. It has a cute story with a strong pro-environmental message. Kids will play 15 minigames while solving a mystery of why groundhogs are missing in the mountain's ecosystem. Some of the minigames have environmental themes like cleaning up trash, and learning to track animals by their paw prints.
What's it about?
Families looking for girl-centric video games that aren't about fashion and shopping might want to give EMMA IN THE MOUNTAINS a try. Based on a French literary heroine, this new Nintendo DS game features a brave, red-headed girl who is a nature lover. While visiting her Grandpa Ted in the mountains, Emma helps to solve a mystery of why the groundhogs aren't around, even though it's spring and well past the time for them to have awakened from their winter hibernation.
Told in a story format with 15 activities interspersed throughout, the game asks kids to solve a nature mystery by visiting different locations, playing mini-games, and talking to both humans and animals. To play this video game, kids need to be old enough to read, since it unfolds through written dialog spoken by Emma, her cousin Andy who accompanies her, Emma's talking dog Pickles, and others.
Is it any good?
This isn't a typical arcade-type kids' game, but rather a cute nature story with a variety of interactive elements and mini-games. For example, you use the DS stylus to wipe away the snow so that you can find your dropped keys. The storyline explores how groundhogs fit into the food chain of animals found in the mountains, and some of the mini-games even have a pro-environmental theme.
However, the story is rather short. Also, while the minigames are varied and fun within the context of the story, they don't have much depth, so kids may not spend much time replaying them outside of the story. And a few, like ones in which you race toboggans, have mushy controls, which can make them frustrating. Choose this game for kids who like nature and enjoy reading, but don't demand a fast-pace in their video games. You might want to rent this one first before you buy. If your kids like Emma in the Mountains, there is a second game in the series called Emma at the Farm.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether there was enough "gaming" in this product to keep them interested. Do all video games need to be fast-paced or did you enjoy reading this story through the dialogue of the characters?