A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that you have to be able to read to play these puzzles, which is why the target age is set at 6. Younger children can do these puzzles if someone is willing to help them to read the riddles.
What's it about?
If your kids are fans of Jean Marzolla's I Spy books, they'll feel right at home with I SPY FUN HOUSE on the Nintendo DS. This video game houses 18 interactive I Spy puzzles, where kids scour crowded photo-realistic scenes to find hidden objects. In addition to the puzzles, kids will also play four other brain-teaser games. Kids play in a Fun House, a wacky carnival-like place that serves as the game's main menu, with the goal of earning 10 Fun House tickets by playing the puzzles and games.
Because the DS dual screens are rather small, the I Spy puzzles extend over six picture-riddle screens that you navigate using the DS control pad. The list of objects to find fills the top screen in the form of a rhyming riddle. When you find an object on your list, you double tap it using the DS stylus. It animates and then the words of the found object turn red in the riddle. Some of these I Spy puzzles have a special X-ray Glasses mode that allows you to see inside objects to find items.
Is it any good?
While I Spy Fun House is an entertaining compilation of brain-teasing puzzles for kids 6-10, it's too bad that Scholastic didn't provide voice-over for the puzzles so that they could be accessible to emerging readers. The riddles in the I Spy puzzles can be tricky because several of the words listed have multiple meanings. Kids may be asked to find a bat, but they will not know whether that is the one used during a baseball game or the mammal with wings.
While there are only 18 I Spy puzzles, there are three other games that can be played on more than 100 levels of difficulty and they vary every time you play them. In "Hoop Shot," kids slingshot items from the bottom screen into hoops on the top screen. The goal is to sort the objects into hoops that share characteristics. "Pop 'n' Drop" is a puzzle where you clear a screen of objects by tapping ones that share specific characteristics. In "Listen Up!," you try to mimic a sequence of sounds by tapping the objects that make them. And when you have earned the 10 Fun House tickets you can play Prize Popper, another game of flinging objects from the lower screen into the top screen to match items that go together.
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