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December 12, 2008

Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa game for the Nintendo DS

The lovely gals at MomCentral recently gave my family the opportunity to play-test the great new game based on the movie Madagascar, Escape 2 Africa for the Nintendo DS.

As usual the second any new game arrives, the kids made off with it immediately. I can always tell when a game is a big hit, because I have to be sneaky to get a chance to play it myself.

The game follows the plot of the new movie, and allows you to play as 5 different characters. It has great music and the game play is smooth and intuitive. I really appreciated the onscreen directions that appeared at critical junctions of the game - they kids seemed to wiz right through the levels after an attempt or two, but it took a little extra prompting for me, and I'm glad it was built right in.

There is a lot of variety as you move through the game, too... you can switch characters easily, solve puzzles, win battles, and can unlock really fun mini-games as you play. You use the touch screen and occasionally the microphone to control the game play, and while even my five year old could successfully play, the game had enough challenging elements to keep my older kids happy and playing (for hours. Seriously.) Even better, there is the capability to play mini-games wirelessly with two or more other DS-slinging players.

Activision has created a winning translation of these great characters and totally captured the flavor and sass of the Madagascar crew. We all give this game a huge round of applause.

Thanks so much for letting us test it out!

December 3, 2008

Littlest Pet Shop for the Wii

As a mom to three elementary school aged kids - two of them girls - we're all about Hasbro's Littlest Pet Shop over here. All of my kids love these tiny little critters and their colorful play-environments. The only problem? Well, that would be me. You see, if I step on or trip over or vacuum up one more teeny tiny plastic pet, I'm going to snap. Perhaps they don't remember the Polly Pocket mass extinction of '06. Giant comets got nothing on a mom with a shop vac and a hate on for tiny rubber clothing.

But I'm getting off track, because The Parent Bloggers Network recently emailed me and offered me the opportunity to review Hasbro's latest collaboration with EA games - Littlest Pet Shop for the Wii. When the box arrived, I opened it with a flourish and presented it to my nine-year-old daughter, who immediately snatched it out of my hands and headed to the living room, teeth tearing into the cellophane wrapper in her impatience to get it going.

I trailed her and offered to assist with set up but she elbowed me out of the way, and within moments was naming her new characters. My soon-to-be-six-year-old was also able to easily manipulate the game controls, and although it is a single player game, the kids really enjoyed working together and helping each other select fashion accessories and create names.

I'll be honest, I didn't get the chance to touch the remote. This game was such a huge hit with my kids - even my son, who normally won't play with what he considers "girlie" stuff - that I finally gave up trying and let them have at it without me. They loved the 16 different mini-games and despite repeated playing, the ability to change the difficulty of the games has kept their interest. The four different worlds that are available for game play are charming and colorful, and really capture the imagination. They are well on their way to unlocking and collecting all 32 available critters, and while at first I wished that they could play together - the fact that they can't compete with each other, and have to take turns totally rocks, now that I think about it. No bickering!

Thanks EA and Hasbro for letting us have this opportunity. To check out what other Parent Bloggers Network moms had to say - visit the round up.



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