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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this three-episode collection of Backyardigans adventures freatures the endearing characters from the Nick Jr preschool series and provides players with an opportunity to use basic early-education concepts in order to advance the story. Each adventure can be completed relatively quickly and, while the scenery and storylines change from adventure to adventure, the actions the player must perform remain basically the same.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
The Backyardigans game, just like the TV series, follows five animal friends who play together in their backyards, which they imagine to be different wild and exotic environments. In this game, the friends act out three different adventures -- pirates on a treasure hunt, superheroes stopping supervillains from stealing a giant key, and space garbagemen hounded by space junk collectors who want to swipe trash from them. As classic as the themes of those first two may be, no one can accuse that third story of being clichéd.
Is it any good?
The Backyardigans is a fine, if unexceptional video game for preschoolers. The characters and stories are cute, and all the right early-learning concepts are called upon during play. But the adventures are over quickly and the same activities -- guiding a vehicle around obstacles, hitting numbers in order to create dance steps, shouting words into the microphone when cued -- are repeated from story to story. Too often, the game actions are unconnected to what's actually going on in the story, like matching shapes in order to hoist a sail. The addition of a freestyle music game helps add an extra fun element. In the end, though, this game is best for fans of the TV show who will enjoy the chance to interact with beloved characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the value of imagination. How can the adventures the Backyardigans undertake seem so real to them when the stories only exist in their heads?
Parents can also use the game as a jumping off point for reinforcing basic preschool concepts, such as numbers, shapes, and colors.
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
- Subjects: Arts: music, rhythm
Math: patterns, shapes
- Skills: Collaboration: meeting challenges together, respecting other viewpoints, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: part-whole relationships, solving puzzles
- Price: $29.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: 2K Play
- Release date: November 5, 2009
- Genre: Preschool
- ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)