A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Amusement Park is less obviously educational than many other Leapster games. The developers disguised the lessons well, blending them almost seemlessly into a business management sim. So while children may not be spelling words or solving math equations, they will definitely be learning.
What's it about?
In My Amusement Park, you'll start with nothing but an empty lot and a few hundred bucks, but you'll soon be building rides, snack stands, and midway games. Each new element you construct for your park will cost you money but will also earn you more income, so money management is an important factor in the game. Once you build a game booth, you can play that game whenever you want. And after creating rides or snack stands, you'll engage in mini-games that involve repairing broken rides, preparing meals, or cleaning up and recycling trash.
Is it any good?
My Amusement Park is a remarkably deep Leapster game, with many more layers than you typically find on games for the system. In addition to building the rides and attractions (through construction based mini-games), you can also paint them and place them anywhere on the map, allowing for real customization of your park. The midway games are fun unto themselves, but they're joined by several other mini-games that pop up at story points, including ones used to repair malfunctioning attractions and to lend a hand at the snack counters. There's a good deal of variety among the mini-games, too -- and one pipe connection puzzle, in particular, that's a real brain-teaser (with adjustable difficulty, of course). My Amusement Park offers the potential for many hours of engaging play.
Online interaction: Leapster 2 users can win rewards, like certificates or coloring pages, which can be downloaded from the LeapFrog.com website when the Leapster 2 unit is connected to a PC via USB cable. With an online account at LeapFrog.com, parents can also track their children's progress through this same connection.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to really run a business like an amusement park. In the game, you need to manage your money and make sure you don't overspend before you earn enough income. But there are a lot of expenses that go into running a real theme park that you don't need to worry about in this game. What kinds of things would you need to budget for in the management of a real world amusement park?
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