JumpStart 3D Virtual World

 

Learning(i)

Online learning game set in a big open world is a cut above.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game promotes exploration and learning in a safe online environment.

Positive role models

The characters players interact with are almost universally chipper, helpful, and kind. They set goals and provide instructions and guidance. The player's avatar doesn't really have a personality, but he or she works to solve problems and achieve objectives that often involve helping others or making the environment look better.

Ease of play

This game is played using either a mouse to point-and-click where you’d like to move in the virtual world, or the arrow keys to move and space bar to jump. The method used depends on your preference or your age (some activities targeted at younger kids force them to use the mouse control scheme). The controls aren’t always precise, and sometimes feel way too floaty, but they are easy to learn.

Violence & scariness

There are aggressive creatures called punk-punks that bump into players and can cause them to lose coins. To defend themselves, players can jump on the punk-punks to flatten them and get their coins back.

Language

Not an issue.

Consumerism

There are several in-game plugs for other JumpStart products, and instances in which characters tell the player to ask his or her parents to download more JumpStart games.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that JumpStart 3D Virtual World is an online, subscription-based learning game that takes place in a safe, controlled environment. It provides content for children aged 3 to 10 years, though younger kids in this targeted audience will require help navigating the world to find activities suitable for their age. Unique interactive educational challenges help kids learn their alphabet, solve mathematical equations, gain knowledge of grammatical concepts, and learn about the world. Note that there is a small amount of violence (players jump on creatures called punk-punks and flatten them). You should also be aware that Knowledge Adventure inserts plugs for its other Jumpstart products within the game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • spelling
  • letter or word recognition

Math

  • arithmetic
  • shapes
  • equations

Science

  • animals
  • measurement

Social Studies

  • history
  • geography

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm
  • drawing

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • logic
  • problem solving

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • initiative
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This is a fun and habit-forming collection of educational games. Kids can choose activities that interest them and never get stuck doing something they don't enjoy.

Learning Approach

Kids will solve a wide variety of math problems, distinguish proper grammatical structure, and explore music, shapes, and art. Exercises are tiered by age and skill.

Support

Instructions are provided for each activity, and there are plenty of additional resources on the game's web site.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • spelling
  • letter or word recognition

Math

  • arithmetic
  • shapes
  • equations

Science

  • animals
  • measurement

Social Studies

  • history
  • geography

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm
  • drawing

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • logic
  • problem solving

Self-Direction

  • academic development
  • initiative
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • moving beyond obstacles
  • persevering

Kids can learn about math, reading, geography, art, and several other subjects in this vast, broad-ranging educational game that puts players in control of a customizable avatar. They can solve a wide variety of math problems, distinguish between sentences with proper and improper grammatical structure, and explore music, shapes, and art. The game's open world means that kids can choose activities that interest them and never worry about getting stuck doing something they don't enjoy. JumpStart 3D Virtual World is an excellent platform for fun, self-directed learning with seemingly limitless content.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

By creating an online, interactive, educational experience, JumpStart 3D Virtual World tries to turn learning into a game. Players explore an expansive environment looking for games and activities, many of which have a strong pedagogical bent. There is far too much content to list here, but younger players will engage in such activities as leafing through voiced storybooks, playing with instruments and toys, and matching shapes and colors in fun, themed mini-games. Older kids can use jetpacks to fly through answers to mathematical equations, color pictures and post their work on billboards around the world, and float through underwater worlds trying to find and identify sentences with proper grammatical structure. Even the games designed primarily for fun -- such as the Robo-a-go-go rhythm game and a dragon pet simulator -- teach kids something, such as the basics of music and animal care, respectively.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As so-called edutainment goes, JumpStart 3D Virtual World is top-notch. Few games can make learning to identify prepositions and memorizing multiplication tables authentically fun, but that’s exactly what JumpStart does. It even turns learning into a friendly competition, allowing players to compare their performance (anonymously) with others and providing incentive to play more learning games to earn additional stars and coins that unlock other elements of the game.

Unfortunately, we did run into some technical problems. The game occasionally lagged and even crashed a few times while we were testing it. Plus, the controls, while manageable, aren’t perfect. Moving one’s character around using the arrow keys often feels more like driving a car than controlling what should be a nimble little game avatar. Still, these are issues that we hope will be ironed out as the game matures online. If you’re looking for a way to make learning entertaining for your three-to-ten-year-olds, JumpStart 3D Virtual World is a good place to start.

Online interaction: Players will occasionally run into other player-controlled characters in the hub world and in some mini-games, but they cannot communicate or interact with one another, which means there is no chance for children to experience inappropriate content generated by others.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about learning via video games. Do you think it is as effective as more traditional methods? Do you feel as though you are learning at the same pace as you would otherwise? Do you believe you retain what you’ve learned?

  • Families can also discuss the concept of subscription-based gaming. It’s less expensive to start, but gets pricier the longer you subscribe. Publishers try to make it worth your while by regularly introducing new content, but do you think players get enough from it to warrant lengthy subscriptions?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:$7.99/mo or $74.99/year
Available online?Available online
Developer:Knowledge Adventure
Release date:March 10, 2009
Genre:Educational
ESRB rating:E for No Descriptors (Windows)

This review of JumpStart 3D Virtual World was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written bybrittu May 18, 2010
age 4+
 

Fun but could be more education and could support dual play

My boys (5 and 7) are really enjoying Jumpstart World. They've been thrilled with the new dragon training feature. I don't mind them playing but there are two things I think could really be better. First, I don't think it's as educational as it could be. Training a dragon is fun but there's really nothing to it in terms of math or reading. It's not even close to the educational quality provided by a site like Dreambox Math. Second, they can't play together. While not at all educational, something I enjoy about the Lego series or Scooby Doo Wii is that they can play together. With Jumpstart they just take turns with my older son most often getting more time to play. I think it's good but for the money I think it could be more.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written bydadofmace October 16, 2009
age 3+
 

Nothing else quite matches the amount of content and quality.

This review is so far just for the downloadable content (not the full on online world). This is only for the downloadable games (which are free with membership) or can be purchased as two packs at retail. My three year old quickly beat the pre-school (My First Adventure) and is now doing the Kindegarten where he is having a good time and can handle about 1/2 of the material. My 6 year old is on the First grade (Trouble in Troubletown or something) and this is a good tool for him. I'm amazed at what he can do. A word of warning regarding this product. Some of the learning games can get very repetitive and in order to collect the gems you have to do them sometimes up to 6 times in a row to get the gem. This is frustrating to my 6 year old. There are other complaints about this product I have, but really, how many PC products out there even get close to level of presentation, updates, fun, edutainment, exploration, artwork? None. It's definately worth a couple months membership if you have kids who like computer games.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old May 28, 2011
age 9+
 

The best ever game LOL

Its awesome
What other families should know
Great role models

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