A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sleepover Party is less a video game and more of an interactive slumber party guide. A digital hostess describes how various party activities work, such as how to “break the ice” by writing down answers to personal questions and how to create and apply facial masks. Note, though, that some of the activities -- those that involve applying make-up and chatting about kissing boys -- are appropriate only for older girls. Also, the game often lets participants break into groups of their own choosing, so you may want to keep an eye on things to ensure that all of the girls playing are being included.
What's it about?
Not a game in the traditional sense, SLEEPOVER PARTY is instead more of a party organizer for tweens and teens having friends over for the night. Players choose a theme, assign stickers representing each girl in attendance, and then select from some 60 activities organized by type. The majority of these activities, such as creating facial masks, doing each other’s nails, or dressing each other like mannequins, actually take place in the real world, with an onscreen guide named Aimee leading girls through each step. There are also some very simple mini-games, such as blowing up balloons by pretending the Wii remote is a pump or using the Wii balance board to balance a tray, but there are very few of these. Players can create activity lists in advance of their party or wing it with quickstart mode, which selects a random group of activities.
Is it any good?
Sleepover Party could be a fun and useful tool for girls who want to ensure that their party isn’t lacking for things to do. As you add activities to your party plan you can see a timer that estimates how long it will take to complete them all -- handy, regardless of whether you have lots of time or very little. And little touches, such as a list of items you’ll need beforehand (food for facial masks, make-up for a game that has girls making each other look silly, clothes for a dress-up game), help the planning process even more.
That said, we can’t help but think that most of the activities presented are ones that girls can come up with by themselves or with their friends and parents. What’s more, those that take place on screen are far from compelling and will usually force players to take turns, which is never much fun. Still, a cheap price tag of $19.99 means it might be worth taking a risk on. Even if you only use it once, you’ll likely remember your favorite activities for future get-togethers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about slumber parties. At what age is a sleepover appropriate? What are some of the differences in activities suitable for younger and older party-goers?
Families can also discuss how much a game like this actually helps a slumber party. Did it present you with activities you wouldn’t have thought of on your own? Do you think you’d want to use it several times, or for just one party? Could you get the same information from a book or the Internet?
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