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This review is for the game The Aly and AJ Adventure, a game for the Nintendo DS, developed by Frame Studios Interactive and produced by Destination Software. In the game, by completing mini games you have to guide Aly and AJ, from MTV, around a world tour.
The aim of the game is to progress through different areas of the world, against the backdrop of a world tour. The player does this by completing lots of mini games, and achieving an A ranking to progress through the game.
The mini games are of some passing interest for a while, but it's not always actually immediately obvious what you're meant to be doing. It becomes apparent after some playing about on some of the mini games, but really the game should have in my view made it more obvious about what is required.
Controlling the mini games is generally through the stylus and many of the mini games do have some considerable passing interest. They are fun to play for a while, but I wouldn't really want to spend much time on them, and I wouldn't want to play through many of them again. There are three difficulty levels for each of the games, easy, medium and hard, and this does work efficiently in letting players decide on their own skill level.
In each area in the world tour there is also an element of where you have to use the stylus to perform along to a clip of music. This style of game play has been used recently in many games, popularised by the Guitar Hero type of game. This game though implements it badly and is limited by what I found to be an unresponsive control mechanism.
The graphics in the game are nothing special, they perform the function that they need to, but no great effort has been made with them. Given the style of the game, the sound and music clips are better than in many games, but I felt that still more could have been done in this respect to really add to the game. Unfortunately the technical restrictions of the DS do make it much harder to impress players with the sound than on other consoles.
There is a multi player function in the game, but this is one of those irritating DS games which requires you to have a copy on each console, not just one between you. Given that some games allow you just to have one copy, this does rather smack of cashing in, and is disappointing. You can though in theory link two machines together to play some of the mini games together, if you are able to find a friend who happens to also have a copy of this game.
The game is available new from Amazon at the time of writing for 14.99 pounds, against the recommended retail price of 24.45 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy, again at the time of writing, you can pick one up for around ten pounds from either eBay or Amazon. The game is rated a 3+, so is suitable for children of most ages.
Overall, this appears to be a game where the producers seem to hope that will sell through the name on the box, rather than the quality of a product. Such an approach is always disappointing, especially when children can end up disappointed with the product that they've been bought. It's a generally very average game although some of the mini games can be fun for a while, which unfortunately gives the impression that little concern has been given to the buyers of the game. In my view, the game isn't worth buying.