A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about music, including rhythm and pitch, as well as musical instruments. They can also learn about shapes and counting. While there is no opportunity to just experiment making your own music, this game does a good job of introducing musical concepts within its gameplay. Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece is an appropriately silly and playful way for preschoolers to explore music.
The game encourages kids to support and help others and enjoy listening to and creating music.
Positive Role Models
The characters treat each other with kindness and respect and encourage kids to do the same.
Ease of Play
For the Wii version, kids use the Wii remote held sideways along with the B button. This is less intuitive for kids who are already familiar with the traditional upright hold on the remote. The DS version uses the stylus. The Wii version doesn't always respond as quickly/accurately as you like, but the kids don't seem to care. The DS version allows for more accuracy, but loses some of the fun of the jumping and dancing kids do with the Wii.
Products & Purchases
The game is based on the highly commercialized characters of the Sesame Street brand. In particular, the game focuses on Elmo, one of the most commercially available and desired of the Sesame Street lineup. The game itself doesn't include advertising.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece is an adventure game that introduces kids to the basics of making music. It stars preschool favorites Elmo and Abby Cadabby, and also includes the Count and the ever-entertaining Honkers. The games are perfect for preschoolers and the characters do a nice job of integrating musical facts in their casual conversation. Many of the games on the Wii involve making certain motions -- jump, tilt, rotate, etc. -- that the game doesn't always recognize. Parents can "take over" the game using a second remote if a child gets stuck. Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece has a parent area that can be accessed using a second remote. It includes gameplay statistics and the ability to create custom playlists of favorite games.
Is It Any Good?
Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece does a good job of presenting directions, and the games seem to flow together. When kids make a mistake (or the controls don't register properly), the prompting is subtle, but effective. The characters gently remind kids of the objective. The games are cute and have a certain repetition that allows kids to progress in skill without feeling like they're playing the same game over and over.
Perhaps the only thing lacking in the gameplay is some freeplay activity without a specific outcome attached. Some of the games would lend themselves to open exploration and many kids will crave some of that time for experimentation. The parental area is fine, and it's nice to have the curriculum goals for each area, but the statistics don't have a lot of substance. Despite these minor shortcomings, Sesame Street: Elmo's Musical Monsterpiece is a wonderful educational title for introducing kids to music, and a fun game in entertainment value alone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.