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 is a motion-activated gaming system for children ages 3-7. The controller doesn't work as well as the Wii remote, but it creates an intuitive way for young children to play video games. If you want a character to jump, you pull up on the controller, and if you want the character to run to the right, you tilt the controller to the right. The introductory game that comes bundled with the system is not very good, but the add-on games are much better. The add-on Kung Fu Panda game has mild violence in it, since the character uses martial arts to get things done.
What's it about?
Now that Nintendo's Wii has revolutionized the way we play video games with its motion-sensing controllers, VTech hopes to get in on the action with a new gaming system of its own aimed at young children called the V-MOTION ACTIVE LEARNING SYSTEM. V-Motion combines motion-activated video gaming with educational content to teach 3- to 7-year-olds math, reading, science, spelling, and logical thinking.
The V-Motion system comes with a 12-by-7 inch console that plugs into your television, using the AV input jacks. It also has a wireless controller that works by kids moving it to make things happen on the TV screen. The system comes bundled with the Action Mania game.
Is it any good?
So, does it work? Yes, but this controller isn't as responsive as the Wii remote. In Action Mania, kids tilt the controller side-to-side and up-and-down to make on-screen characters balance on a moving ball, race in a car or on a bobsled, or play tennis. There's a delay factor from when you make a motion with the controller to when things happen on the screen, so kids need to anticipate when they need to move the controller. At times, they will make a motion, but it won't be recognized. When racing in a car, you'll be asked to race over letters to complete the spelling of words. Unfortunately, you come up on the letters so fast that it's hard to tilt the controller the correct way to run over the desired letter.
Since V-Motion is a new system with great potential to encourage kids to move while they are gaming, we also reviewed Kung Fu Panda: Path of the Panda, one of the eight add-on games launching with this new system. The game play in Kung Fu Panda was much more creative, in-depth, and motion-encouraging than what is showcased in the short Action Mania game. With Kung Fu Panda, kids are asked to pretend they are doing kung fu moves while holding the controller. If they shake the controller around as they go through their moves, it will trigger the panda to perform impressive moves on the screen.
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