What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this educational game makes its lessons not only fun, but enticing, by layering them into action-based, cartoon-inspired gameplay. Not all of the mini-games are purely curriculum-based -- some are more reminiscent of what you'd find in a mainstream, just-for-fun video game; but the inclusion of those un-school-like levels only serves to keep kids interested in the game as a whole. The educational games are geared at 5- to 9-year-olds.
What's it about?
In JUMPSTART: ESCAPE FROM ADVENTURE ISLAND, your dirigible-type airship crash lands on a whimsical, fantasy island, and you must play mini-games to earn sand dollars and buy enough helium tanks to get your zeppelin back up in the air. A few of the mini-games are mere dexterity challenges (rolling an egg into a nest, hopping onto platforms, and avoiding meanie creatures), but most are outwardly educational, based on math and reading curricula for five- to nine-year-olds. Players may need to ride a manta ray through gates marked with the right answers to math problems or roll in a giant hamster ball through banners marked with correctly-spelled words. Another mini game involves choosing clothes for a fashion show, where scores are based on how well the chosen outfit matches the requested criteria (such as \"striped cold-weather outfit\").
Is it any good?
The educational value of JumpStart: Escape from Adventure Island is clear from the first few moments of the game. And the lessons are incorporated very nicely into action-based game formats. Beyond all the learning, though, the game is also fun. It has a colorful look and playful design that should be appealing to kids across the entire five-to-nine age spectrum. And smartly, there's a lot here that is not purely educational -- including the ability to build up a wardrobe and continually swap costumes, and a customizable treehouse -- which goes a long way toward making sure the game doesn't feel like a school assignment.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about which of the mini-games kids like best. Do they prefer the game levels that are more traditionally video-game-like? Or do they enjoy the ones that present them with learning-based challenges?