A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that VTech InnoTab Software - Ultimate Spider-Man is an educational game and ebook focused on science and technology. Though the educational content is geared toward preschoolers, the mini-games and adventure mode will have an appeal for older Spider-Man fans as well. Unlike some VTech cartridges, several mini-games will be challenging in terms of content and the need for fine motor skills for younger kids. Violence is cartoonish, with Spider-Man shooting webbing at villains, although one does try to electrocute him. Parents also should be aware that this is the latest product for a franchise with media, toy, and other merchandise tie-ins, so they could be asked to buy additional items. Editor's Note: This game's publisher, VTech, experienced a breach of parent and student data on November 14, 2015. Click here for more information.
What's it about?
VTECH INNOTAB SOFTWARE - ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN is an educational game with three major parts: an ebook, an Adventure mode, and a photo activity. Kids can read the story of "Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six" and learn how Spider-Man got his fellow heroes to work as a team to defeat the villains. The story is read aloud, and the built-in glossary helps with unfamiliar words. The Adventure mode let's players join the fight to stop villains from releasing a virus that turns people into animalistic monsters across the city. Kids will swing around town, fight Octobots, use a simple map, navigate a robot with simple programming skills, and more. Kids also can take a picture of themselves with a superhero mask or in a Spider-Man-themed photo frame.
Is it any good?
VTech InnoTab Software - Ultimate Spider-Man is chock-full of fun and learning. Most of the educational activities are perfectly integrated into the adventure, and even some that aren't terribly realistic feel like they fit. In one, Spider-Man has to remove matching sets of numbers/letters to reveal a password and hack into Octobots. In another, he has to prevent infected food from entering the marketplace by pulling out foods that match certain criteria such as grains, fruit, protein, or dairy. Only one game feels like forced learning (webbing Octonots with certain numbers on their chests).
Otherwise, it all feels like you're helping save humanity. There are a few situations where the controls pose a challenge -- for example, when you're about to be attacked by Electro and need to move Spider-Man, the game refuses to react during the first round of each battle -- which can be frustrating. Otherwise, this is a fantastic example of how to engage kids in science and technology in a meaningful and immersive way.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about leadership and teamwork. What does it mean to be a leader? What does it mean to be on a team? Can you name some things your family has in common with a team?
Discuss reading a map. What does the map of your town look like? Can you find your street on it?
- Platforms: InnoTab, InnoTab 2
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
Science: biology, electricity
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic
- Price: $24.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: VTech Electronics
- Release date: August 11, 2014
- Genre: Edutainment
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Book Characters
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.