A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an educational gaming title on the Wii. Unfortunately, it has difficult controls for the youngest of the targeted audience of 3-to 6-year-olds, making it a better fit for kids ages 5 and 6. The educational games are solid and the adventures within the game are fun, but the game doesn't take much advantage of the Wii's motion-sensing controls.
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What's it about?
JUMPSTART PET RESCUE is an educational gaming title for kindergartners on the Wii. Kids create their own avatar to explore five different interconnected neighborhoods while searching for some missing pets. In the Story Mode, kids go on missions and complete tasks as directed by animal residents of this world. Many of the missions involve going to the Learning House to play educational games. These games cover the preschool and kindergarten skills of learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, following directions, sorting, matching, and differentiating attributes. Other learning games can be found sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods including fishing for fish that are a specific color, and finding gold stars by listening to music. Kids can adopt a pet, design a house, and choose what their avatar looks like.
Is it any good?
The educational activities are excellent. Unfortunately, the controls aren't. This is a game targeted at kids ages 3-6, but the method of interacting with the screen is not intuitive to preschoolers. Instead of simply tilting the Wii to make your avatar move as was done in Go Diego Go: Safari Rescue, here kids have to point, press the "A" button, and then wait for their avatar to move where they pointed. Kids ages 5 and 6 should be able to navigate the game, but even so, the game doesn't make good use of the Wii remote's motion-sensing abilities. Plus, at times your avatar blocks your ability to see where to go.
For kids ages 5 and 6, there is a lot of explore. JumpStart Pet Rescue presents a magical 3D world full of sparkling ponds in which to swim, rivers to race down, zipwire rides to experience, and lots of charming animal characters with which to interact. For kids who need direction, the Story Mode provides great motivation to play the educational games. The Explore Mode is more open-ended and lets kids to wander to find all the delightful surprises this world offers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it is more fun to play in the Story Mode where the Jumpstart animal friends join you on your adventure, or in the Explore Mode where you can wander and discover surprises in this vast virtual world?
Do you like changing the look of your avatar? Did you feel like it looked like you?
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