Letters on the Loose

Common Sense Media says

Leapster L-Max activities teach the alphabet.





What parents need to know

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Violence & scariness
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an excellent way to introduce preschoolers to the alphabet because kids learn by playing games with each of the letters. The software also teaches them how to draw each letter and then has them practice by drawing on the touch-sensitive screen. This software utilizes the L-Max's unique ability to create a dual screen when plugged into a TV -- the display on the handheld screen is different from what kids see on the TV screen.

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What's it about?

LETTERS ON THE LOOSE, one of the first titles for the Leapster L-Max, is a good fit for kids who are just learning the alphabet. Each letter appears in the software as an animated character; by playing 26 games, kids learn to identify each letter, its sound, and how to draw it. Kids help Professor Quigley round up the 26 letters of the alphabet so that he can create a talking ABC book. Kids persuade the maverick letters to join the book by playing games with them.

For example, before the letter N will become part of the book, it needs help finding little Ns that are hiding in some pipes. Kids use the L-Max's arrow pad to move an onscreen magnifying glass over the pipes to find the hidden Ns. Once a letter is added to the book, Professor Quigley sings a song about the letter's sound and shows kids how to draw the letter. Using the L-Max's touch-sensitive screen, children trace a dotted path to draw the letter, and that hand-drawn letter then becomes part of the ABC book.

Is it any good?


Kids will discover additional material when connecting the L-Max unit to a television, including Professor Quigley's tutorials and a bonus game involving upper and lowercase letters. A minor complaint about the television gameplay is that kids must click a button on the side of the L-Max pen to make the pen's actions on the touch-sensitive handheld screen show up on the TV screen.

Letters on the Loose cleverly engages kids in learning the alphabet by having them play with charming letter friends. Drawing letters using the touch-sensitive screen further reinforces the alphabet recognition and instills pride when those hand-drawn letters show up on the television for others to see.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about which letter their child likes best and why. Parents might also consider helping their child make an ABC book away from the L-Max.

Game details

Available online?Not available online
Release date:September 30, 2005
ESRB rating:E for (Leapster)

This review of Letters on the Loose was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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Adult Written bybarnett April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Amazing game for letter learners!

I've got to say, I am completely impressed with this game! My son is 6 and he loves to play it and it really re-inforces what he's learning in school. He already knew his alphabet, but the writing practice is really helping him. My daughter is 3 and she's already starting to write her letters thanks to this game. The only frustration for her is that you have to press the button on the side of the l-max pen at the same time that you are trying to play the game. That's a little much for a three-year-old's hands. So she needs lots of help to play. I think this game is a little frustrating for 3 year olds and would advise most people to hold off until their kids are 4-6. It depends on if they have expressed any interest in writing on their own yet. If you've had experience with other tracing games on leapster cartridges (Disney Princesses or Mr. Pencil) this one is much, MUCH more forgiving and less frustrating than those. So it's a vast improvement over those games. Plus, being able to see what you've written on the TV screen is very fun! This is an awesome game and both of my kids are loving it!
Adult Written bynana m April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

great game!

4 yr old loved it. Got it for xmas and has already mastered it. 2 yr old trying to play it now. Highly recommend.


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