What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is nothing offensive in this game. It tracks the storyline of the popular animated movie and stresses the importance of individuality. While this title is fun, parents should know that it only includes two types of games, dancing, and racing downhill on a penguin's belly. In all versions kids control Mumble, but the Nintendo DS version being reviewed here offers the most innovative dance mechanics.
What's it about?
In the video game HAPPY FEET, kids control Mumble, the emperor penguin star of the Happy Feet movie, and relive the story -- but the Nintendo DS version offers the most innovative dance mechanics, so we are reviewing that version. Unlike his fellow penguins who have a "heart song" to woo a mate, Mumble can't sing; instead, he expresses himself through his tapping "happy feet." The elders of his colony can't accept that, and conclude that his dancing is responsible for their dwindling fish supply. Mumble leaves on a quest to find out what is destroying the food supply.
The 23 missions take two formats: dancing or belly-sliding. In dancing missions, kids help Mumble tap dance by hitting colored dots that appear on the lower touch-sensitive screen, corresponding to the beat of a funky song. As Mumble belly-slides down mountains of snow and ice, the player controls his navigation with the stylus or by using the multi-directional keypad.
Is it any good?
The 23 missions are engaging and fun if you like downhill racing and rhythm challenges. The dancing missions are particularly appealing, and use similar timing mechanics as those found in the highly rated Elite Beat Agents. All the missions can be replayed for a better score, or played with a friend in multi-player mode if both own a copy of the game. If racing and rhythm aren't your child's passion or you're looking for a more comprehensive game, rent or pass on this one.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about which type of game they prefer -- the dancing or the belly-sliding? Why? Did you mind that there were only two types of games? They might also want to discuss whether it is more important to be an individual or to conform to the opinion of a group. How do you think Mumble felt when he was asked to leave the colony because he danced? Were the elders being fair?