Freddi Fish: ABC's Under the Sea

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Freddi Fish: ABC's Under the Sea Game Poster Image
Cute early-education game marred by design flaws.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Along with the obvious educational message, the game also promotes sharing, cleaning up, and being generally supportive of friends and family.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters here are all helpful, courteous, and eager to learn.

Ease of Play

Each activity has both written and spoken instructions, so learning how to play all the mini-games is easy for preschoolers. There are a couple of design and/or control problems, though (see "education" above).

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Freddi Fish: ABC's Under the Sea is a set of early education mini-games that are aimed at kids ages three through five. The look and feel of the game are very well designed to appeal to that preschool audience, but some pf the mini-games are marred by design flaws that may either make the game too easy ("Ship Shape") or too frustrating ("Refrigerator Magnets"). The best way to fix or avoid such problems: Be there to help your child as she plays.

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What's it about?

FREDDI FISH: ABC's UNDER THE SEA is a selection of educational mini-games featuring characters from the award-winning Freddi Fish series of PC games. In this Nintendo DS version, kids use a touchscreen to trace letters, circle different amounts of seahorses, arrange alphabet noodles to spell short words, point out mismatched costumes, organize garbage into piles, play with letter-shaped refrigerator magnets, and draw pictures in the sand. Parents can check on which games their child is playing, and what kind of progress has been made in each activity.

Is it any good?

Freddi Fish: ABC's Under the Sea is a good-hearted game with some fun parts, but on the whole, it feels like a pale impersonation of the excellent Freddi Fish PC games. First, it's worth noting that despite the title, only four of the eight mini-games involve letters. And then there are a couple of control and design flaws. The educational aspect of one letter-tracing game is compromised by permitting kids to scribble randomly over a letter in order to get it scored as correct. An activity that lets children spell their own words with moveable letter magnets can grow frustrating when the game -- which only allows you to have five letters at a time -- gives you an unusable selection of letters, such as AIJUA. On the whole, the timed activities go on for too long; what starts off as fun for a preschooler can grow into tedium by the end of the lengthy activity. Freddi Fish isn't a bad game, per se, but it misfires in too many places to get a truly positive recommendation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about about limiting screen time. Introducing preschoolers to their first video game is a great opportunity for a discussion of setting limits. Even educational games should not be played for hours on end.

  • Parents can also ask their children how they can apply the lessons learned in the game to the real world around them.

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atari
  • Release date: October 5, 2010
  • Genre: Preschool
  • ESRB rating: EC for (No Descriptors)

For kids who love learning games

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