“ Brand: VTech / Type: Problem Solving / Age: 4 Years+ „
My eldest daughter turned 6 a couple of months ago and she had quite a large party due to this she ended up[ with a lot of presents and she was lucky enough to received quite a lot of money too. She wanted to save her money for her holidays and said that way she wouldn't have to spend Mammy and daddy's pennies so I took her to Tesco and insisted that she buy herself something with her money and let us worry about holiday spending. She ended up picking this game up along with other toys after lots of back and forth around the aisle, we paid nearly £25 for the game however you can buy it much cheaper from the like of Amazon where it is currently selling for £15 for the age 4-6 version and £17 for the age 3-5 version.
The game comes packaged in a small blue box which displays both the Disney logo and the Vtech logo as they are the makers of Innotab. On the front of the box is a picture of Jake and 2 of the pirates which was what drew Sophie to the game in the first place as she loves watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the Disney channel. The box tells you at the bottom that this game is for ages 4-6 and it includes an Ebook and helps with problem solving, classification, logic and creativity.
The box opens from the bottom which is useful to know as twice now I have torn Innotab game boxes trying to get into them. On the back of the box you are wanred that this is not for children under 3 due to it being a chocking hazard, personallu I feel the game is far too big to be swallowed and my 2 year old daughter plays with the game I just put it into the concole for her.
Whenever you turn you Innotab on you are greeted with a screen where your child selects their name to begin, Sophie has made herself numerous profiles for some unknown reason. On a second screen your child is asked how they would like to play with the Innotab and at the bottom of the screen is the word cartridge and a picture of whatever cartridge your child has in at the time, once you click on this the game will load.
The game menu has on it a reading option which is a story, then it has 3 learning games which are Slingshot Cliffs, The Stolen Picnic and Spot the Difference. Finally on the menu screen is the Creativity options which are customise Bucky, Hook's Album and Photo Fun, your child simply presses on one of the options with either their hand or the stylus and they are ready to go.
The story is called Hook's Bubble Blunder and your child controls the book right through the story, there are 21 pages in the book and your child can scroll from one to the other with arrow and then press on it and the story will start from whichever page they have selected. There are little pictures along with the page numbers so if your child is looking for a certain part of the story that they remember by sight they can work out where they want to be from the pictures.
The story begins on Hook's boat where he wants to look his best for Red Jessica but Smee manages to cover him in fish heads, Hook is not impressed as he has nothing to get cleaner up with. Hook looks up and see bubbles, they are coming from Jake and the pirates, Hook steals the bubbles from Jake and runs away, of course Jake and the pirates follow Hook and use a shortcut to catch him up. Hook doesn't know how to use the bubbles to clean his coat and he turns them upside down spilling them on the floor and falling over in them and landing in the swamp, Smee jumps in to help but the snapping turtles keep bumping into them and they cannot get out.
Finally Hook and Smee get out of the swamp and run off just before Jake and the pirates arrive, they use the turtles backs to jump across the swamp to the other side. Hook and Smee bump into butterflies and Hook swings around the bubble wand trapping butterflies in the bubbles but of course Jake and the pirates rescue the butterflies and then continue chasing Hook. Jake and the pirates follow Hook into a cave and find out which paths to follow by following the bubbles, finally they get to Captain Hook but he won't give back the bubbles and flies away with his helicopter hook but Smee drops the wands behind them. Jake and the pirates use pixie dust to fly down and save the wands which are falling towards the waterfall, the story ends with the pirates counting their gold doubloons.
The book runs like a programme from the TV, they fulfilled tasks to earn gold doubloon along the way and of course they defeat Captain Hook as always. The story is simple but fun and Sophie got quite excited as the pirates gave chase the first time she read it. The graphics of the story are great and they move perfectly in time with the story without problem, the story is very brightly coloured. There is a button on each page to repeat the story from that page and then there's a button to get back to the first screen too, the words of the story are displayed along the bottom of the page and highlight as the word is read out which helps support reading.
The story is fun and it is easy to navigate, Emily my youngest daughter is able to navigate the story without any help and Sophie sits and reads along with it.
When you go into any of the games there are 2 different levels to play, easy and difficult, I think it's great that there are two levels as it means that more children are capable of playing on the same game. My eldest daughter is able to play all of the games and her younger sister can manage to play some of them which I am happy with as she actually isn't the correct age for the game yet. Each game has a demonstration of it when you go into it but your child can skip it if they have played the game before.
Your child gets 6 coconuts and Jake passes each one to Cubby when he needs them, your child uses the stylus to control a slingshot to throw the coconuts in the air. There are a number of different levels and your child has to throw the coconuts to make different things happen such as knocking down coconuts off a hill or using force to push down a platform for the gang to walk on.
Your children have a guide which appears when they are playing this game to show them where the coconut will land, Sophie is able to use the guide and play with some skill whereas Emily just pulls the slingshot back and hope for the best. Emily finds it funny when the coconuts fly through the air and really doesn't care about getting them in the right place whereas Sophie is really proud of herself when she completes a level. When your child completes a level they get to collect some gold doubloons which Sophie is always pleased with.
=The Stolen Picnic=
Hook is hiding and you have to help Cubby to find out where he is hiding by touching the flashing item on the map and then make your way there. To make your way to Captain Hook you have to use the console and move it from left to right to steer a boat that the pirates as rowing, there are obstacles in the way such as rocks to avoid and flags to collect. When you get to the end of the river there is a telescope which your child has to use to find Captain Hook, you cannot see Captain Hook until you use the telescope but the game will give your children a hint if they are taking too long to find him. At the end of the game the children can watch a video of the pirates getting their picnic back.
Sophie loves this game and challenges herself to try and collect all of the flags as she plays the game, Emily struggles with the river as she is too heavy handed and has the boat bouncing off the river banks but she is able to complete the telescope stage. The graphics of the game is really good and it encourages problem sorting and also counting as your child gets to count he gold doubloons when putting them in the treasure chest at the end of the game.
=Spot the Difference=
The title of this game is pretty self explanatory, Sophie loves playing this game, you get three objects on the easy level and your child is asked which one is different from the other two. There are little extras to the game such as saying "yo ho ho" to get items to move out the way such as crabs, Sophie finds it funny but once Emily has said it once she says it over and over again which ends up rather annoying. Emily doesn't understand how to play this game properly and even though we have tried to explain it she cannot grasp it which I would expect is down to her age, she tries to say the words into the microphone but as he speech still isn't great the Innotab doesn't understand what she is saying so the crabs don't actually move for her. The game is basic but it is good and covers things such as differences in colour, shapes and patterns.
This setting allows your child to select one of six parts of the ship Bucky and to change things about it, the flag can be changed from the skull and cross bones and made into a pink flag or a flag with a different sign on it. Each part of the ship has 6 different options for your child to select so they can make plenty of different combinations. The parts of the ship which can be changed are the flag, the deck, the porthole, the sail, the bow and the broom ad the options allow colours shapes and pictures items to be changed.
Both Sophie and Emily have lots of fun with this setting, Emily gets excited anytime she changes anything so that it is pink and Sophie likes to make the ship look as funny as she can. Once your child has finished with their creation they can save it and it ends up in the gallery. When your child is ready they can go into the gallery and chose a ship to sail and then by blowing into the microphone they can move the ship across the screen and collect treasures along the way. The sailing of the ship hasn't been very well thought out as the gameplay only faces one way and the microphone to blow into is above the screen meaning that whilst your child is blowing the ship they cannot see the screen and cannot collect the treasures, we found the way around this is to blow once and then check the screen and keep going like this until the end.
This setting allows your child to chose a scene to work on and then they have a row of decorations across the bottom of the screen to put into the picture. They can put items in such as a beehive, a wooden barrel and a goldfish bowl, when they are happy with what they have in the scene there is a shutter icon to press to take a picture of their creation. If your child takes a couple of photos then things change in the picture such as the bees come swarming out of the beehive which Sophie finds amusing.
Your childs creations go into a photo album so they can look through them later and Sophie enjoys looking through the pictures rather than making them as she gets bored very quickly making them. I think the making of the pictures is for a younger child as Emily really loves making them but she spends age over it and forgets to take a picture and then can't understand why it's not working which generally ends up with me dodging the Innotab as she gets annoyed and throws it which we are trying to stop.
This option allows your child to take a photo of themselves or of their surroundings, Sophie tends to pick to take pictures of the Kitten. There is a little treasure chest in the corner of the screen and your child can select whether to have a full frame around the picture of which there are a number of options such as Jake swinging on a vine or Hook, Smee and the Crocodile. Inside the treasure chest your child can also select to have the top of some of the characters heads so they can take a picture of themselves wearing Captain Hooks hat or with Izzy's bunches. Sophie always puts Izzy pictures with out Kitten as she named the Kitten Izzy after the character in the show.
Once your child has created a picture they can save it and look through them all later, the problem we have is that Sophie won't delete anything she has done so we4 have ended up with loads of pictures in here all pretty much the same.
We paid more than we needed to for this game but I do feel that it was worth what we paid as both the girls get so much enjoyment out of the game and will often fight over whose turn it is to play it. Thee game has great graphics, the pictures are all very bright and all the characters are true in look and voice to the TV show.
The game is educational but neither of the girls are aware that they are learning anything from it which of course makes it easier for them to learn from it as they are not concentrating on taking things in so like a sponge they just soak up the information.
I feel that this game can easily be played by children under 4, my daughter is nearly 3 and have been playing this game since June and she can handle the majority of the game without much help and really only needs help when she has forgotten how to navigate through it.
Sophie is at the top end of the age range for this game but she still enjoys the game, she will sit and listen to the story with Emily which is quite sweet and then she will happily play the games over and over again. Sophie is just to say playing on the difficult levels of the games so I would say she has a while longer to enjoy it before she starts getting bored but then Emily will enjoy it for a good amount of time yet.
I would recommend this game and not only the game but the whole Innotab system, I like the idea of my children becoming IT literate without them really knowing it as they now use computers and tablets in primary school so I feel it can only give them a head start. I love the Innotab system and there are many games available and not only that but there are activities on the system to begin with anyway. I give this game 5 stars it is educational, great value and lots of fun for the girls.