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* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Introduction ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
My little boy got the Leappad2 games console with 3 games for Christmas 2012. He was delayed with starting nursery due to the fact that i simply could not get him out of nappys so was worried that when he started he would be behind the other other kids, I had a laptop at the time but didn't like him using it should he break it, I decided to have a look online at the new kids tablets that I had heard about, to see if we could get him one to help prevent him falling behind. I liked the idea of tablets but from most reviews I had read on Amazon they all seemed quite cheap quality and mainly only good for Apps or U-tube, where as I wanted kids games that I could sometimes sit with him and do but also be able to go and have a bath or do the washing up and leave him to play/learn without having to worry he was on the internet.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ What Is It? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Disney cars game works on both the leappad explorer or leapster explorer. It is reccomended for ages 4-7years. It comes exactly as pictured above so i wont bore you with those details. Its easy to spot with a large lightning mcqueen on the front box. It is a cartridge that comes in a cardboard box with instructions. With the box being made of cardboard (unlike other games that come in a plastic casing) it may be easier to keep the cartridges in a leappad case.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Learning? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
So while this game is based on Disney Cars and its favourite characters, it has different subjects to add with learning, In this game you will play the part of Mater who travels through radiator springs, meeting different characters on your travels while unlocking activity's to help with learning about:
*Charts and graphs
In the main menu of this game, you will find:
*Adventure mode - to unlock games and find collectables
*Activity mode - play games that you have already unlocked
*Maters salvage yard - to see the items you find in adventure mode
*Badges - you can log onto leapfrog.com to see how many points you have.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Modes Of Play ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
In *ADVENTURE MODE* this is the part of the game where you unlock activity games, you slowly drive through radiator springs being Mater using the silver control panel stopping whenever you see something on the road then pressing A to collect them (you need 25), whenever you see a character at the side of the road, stopping to press B to hear what they have to say. When you have collected the set amout of targets you will go on a little mission known as the Activity mode. While in radiator springs you can talk to various characters, go tractor tripping and as well as help design a car while passing through Rammones garage. All of the games can be unlocked within a few hours.
In *ACTIVITY MODE* there are 8 activities to complete, you unlock a new activity as soon as you help Mater collect all the scrap from radiator springs. Once all the scrap is collected you can unlock games by talking to characters. The activities are:
1) Airport Chase - To get finn to the plane before while he is attached to Mater while avoiding grimm by matching pairs of weapons......great for matching
2) Finns Jump - To get finn onto the boat by using the control panel to lock on the sensor to shoot the target, then get from boat to boat by selecting the required correct rope length, then flicking the hook to get back onto the boat......great for measuring
3) Finns Photo Mission - using the graph to put to shapes together to get the camera in the right spot.....great for graphs
4) Oil Rig Chase - help Finn escape from the bad guys while matching pairs (like airport chase)....great for matching
5) Secret Decoder - catch the same number of dots so both sides are the same....great for problem solving and number patterns
6) Disguise Device - help Mater keep up his disguise, by guessing the missing number from the numbers on screen, for these activity there are 3 settings, easy, medium and hard.....great for problem solving and number pattenrns
7) Big Bentley Breakout - Help Mater across the clock by filling in the gap with the missing shape.....great for problem solving
8) Radiator Spirngs Race - Race as Lightning Mcqueen against others
in *SALVAGE YARD* you can see exactly how many collectables you have collected in radiator springs. It will also show how many of each you have collected in %.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ What Did Harvey Think? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Harvey loved that this was a Disney cars game, he loves the movie so I knew it would be a hit. He got a couple of games with the console and this was the first game he tried, he easily slid the cartridge into place to load the game, and with my help followed the instructions to get into the game, starting with *Adventure Mode*. The voice over on the game explained the buttons and control pad that Harvey needed to use (the control pad being the silver pad on the console) to begin with I helped him, but within 20 minutes he was easily doing it himself, it was simply a case of holding your finger on the control pad then stopping every so often to collect something and pressing a button, very simple and something I think a 3 year old could do despite the fact that the game is from 4 years plus. I'm afraid to say that Harvey did get very bored of this, what the characters say is quite repetitive and there wasn't much to do to keep Harvey interested. You
are not able to drive Mater any faster so he's stuck going at the same slow pace doing the same thing, over and over and over.....drive slowly past the same scenery, stop every so often to pick something up and carry on driving past the same scenery you saw 10 minutes ago then listen to a character say something and see a tractor tip upside down.....This mode doesn't seem to help with any of the learning it is meant to be doing.
Once Harvey had finished collecting 25 collectables he then unlocked one of the activities, the first activity involved helping finn, this adventure held Harvey's attention for longer than the adventure mode, sadly this activity only lasted a 2minutes before you are back in the normal boring adventure mode playing Mater, which was a real shame as while Harvey initially struggled with the task as you have to match the pairs as well as driving the car, Harvey did get a little confused at times, but within a few days he picked it up and realised what he had to do, he thoroughly enjoys this part of the game, and its great for helping with matching and counting.
Harvey then decided to give up with the adventure mode so I ended up sitting up late one night collecting everything and unlocking the activities so that he could play them as soon as he turned the console on, now these are unlocked he plays them regularly.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Our Opinions ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
I have sat and watched Harvey play this, he has needed some help, to be expected as it is the 1st console he has owned. He is currently on basic level (pre-school) as he doesnt play it everyday because its one of the more boring games he has, but he is able to complete the activities given with some help. At 4.5 years old now he can easily complete activity 1,2,4,5,7,8 and will easily spend 30 minutes playing the games.
Since Harvey started school in September they do basic maths such as counting past 20 and counting backwards so he still struggles with activity 3 and 6 but as the game is meant to go up to 7 years he will pick these up over time. If I sit with Harvey he can complete activity 6 but does need a little help.
Each activity lasts between 2-2.5 minutes so is very short, but we prefer this as it means Harvey doesn't get bored with these and can very quickly change to another game. Each activity shows a demonstration to give you an idea of what to do so Harvey can complete a game and move onto another, sometimes he stays on the same game, such as game 7 as it is s subject he is currently looking at in school so he can easily relate to it and thoroughly enjoys it.
Activity 6 seems to be the hardest so I think that it is great that there are 3 difficulty levels. Harvey wont start doing graphs until he goes up into year 1 in September so I'm hoping to help him get a head start
I was very surprised at how boring this game was, we now own 6 games in total I think it is and this has to be the worst, you need to spend a good 20 minutes going through the adventure mode to get to an activity and by this point Harvey is bored to tears, it would be better if you were able to drive quicker to make it more fun or have obstacles for Mater to go around, or completely skip the adventure mode as it is absolutely pointless. It would be better for lots more shorter games.
The voice over on the game is very thorough with explaining what to do so I didn't have to explain much else to Harvey except show him how to do it the first time.
There are other games he prefers, as he finds the driving through radiator spings very repetative, but on a whole great for helping in the maths department. There could be more to do in the adventure mode.
Activity 8 is simply a driving game, and even at aged 24 I find it very addictive.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Added Bonuses ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
You can connect the console to your pc to check your child's progress with this (and any game as a matter of fact). When setting up the console you need to input your child's school level (i.e early pre-school), so the games played meet your child's need, so the game grows with your child.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Cost And Availability ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
The games normally retail at 19.99....each from most toy shops that stock toys, including Argos, Toys R Us, Smyths, Tesco, Amazon, etc, but can be purchased as part of the 3 for 2 offer closer to Christmas or in amazon sales where they have 1/3 off leapfrog games.
15, Manufacturer: Leapfrog