A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about friendships and cooperating with others as they play games with friendly monsters. They can also learn lessons like matching colors and musical pitches. Based on Sesame Street's "Whole Child" curriculum, the game encourages kids to identify and respond to others' emotions, to respect differences, and to share responsibility for the world around us. In addition to teaching vital social and emotional lessons, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster brilliantly incorporates two-person cooperative play.
Every story in the game (and every mini-game within those stories) has a positive message. Believing in yourself, promoting individuality, cheering up a friend in need, keeping nature clean and safe -- these are just a small sampling of the many lessons kids will find within.
Positive Role Models
As Elmo and Cookie Monster explore storybook worlds, they cheerfully help out, engage with, and provide encouragement for the other monsters they meet. All the game's characters are gentle, fun-loving creatures who want to do their best to help the friends around them.
Ease of Play
Instructions are explained verbally before each mini-game -- no reading required. The required movements are generally quite simple and the Kinect sensor does a decent job of accurately reading them, even when two players of different heights are working together.
Violence & Scariness
In one mini-game, where a big monster named Marco runs with Elmo on his back, rocks and trees sometimes block the path. Marco will break through these obstacles, shattering them. He will slow down, but not be hurt.
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Products & Purchases
This is a licensed Sesame Street game and coupons for other Sesame products come packaged with the disc.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is designed as an interactive adventure, in which players directly engage with many Muppet characters from the show. It is a very physical game that will require kids to be on their feet and moving around quite a bit. And it is designed especially with two-player cooperative play in mind. Rather than focus on "book learning" (i.e., ABC's and 123's), the game's stories promote positive life lessons, such as friendship, responsibility, and generosity.
Is It Any Good?
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is definitely among the best preschool video games out there. Its polished presentation, wonderfully witty script, and easy-to-learn-but-not-too-easy-to-play mini-games make it a package that little kids will adore. Moreover, the entire experience is designed to work equally well for one or two players, making Once Upon a Monster the perfect game for parents to play with their kids (or for siblings to play together). Rarely do we see a game that is so utterly appropriate for preschool audiences that is also simultaneously appealing to older kids and adults as well. It's an absolute winner.
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.