Product Type: Ubisoft Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... but you can work through it a chapter at a time so you don't have to sit and watch the whole thing in one go. At the end of each chapter y... more
Save Hiro using only a Stylus!
Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails (DS)
Member Name: Lbird99
Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails (DS)
Advantages: Great Story with fun mini games
Disadvantages: A bit repetitive
In the last six months or so Little Man has shown a real interest in my Nintendo DS. Initially he was quite happy pressing the buttons and pretending to play, but recently he has got savvier to technology, and after he wiped my Zelda file that I had been working on for ages it seemed to be time to get him some games of his own!
As he is obsessed with all things Thomas, I decided to get him Thomas and Friends Hero of the Rails game. He loves the film that the game has been based on, so it seemed to be the best choice. The game is suitable for ages 3+ so it seemed to be perfectly suited to Little Man.
When you load the game in the DS it comes up with the Hero of the Rails logo, and plays the Go, Go Thomas song which seems to have become a bit of an anthem in our house! You have the option of choosing the Story Mode or Games Mode.
Story Mode is made up of 8 chapters which play out the Hero of the Rails story. The story is read by Michael Angelis, the narrator of the television programme, accompanied by still pictures from the film. Each chapter has a couple of mini games built in, which breaks up the story nicely, and each chapter is less than 5 minutes long (depending on how long it takes you to complete each mini game). The whole story lasts less than half an hour, but you can work through it a chapter at a time so you don't have to sit and watch the whole thing in one go. At the end of each chapter you are returned to the menu so you can choose whether or not to continue. Sometimes Little Man will sit and work through the whole thing, and at other times he will cherry pick his favourites chapters.
The Games Mode is made up of 8 mini games based on the ones scattered throughout the story, although some are played out with different characters. The games are all played with the stylus, which is great for us as Little Man seems to struggle with using the D-Pad, but is quite good with the stick as he calls it (even if he has lost half a dozen since he started playing!). The games are:
Paint Thomas: Paint a grey Thomas by scribbling with the stylus completely filling him in with blue paint, then do the same thing again only with polish to make him shine. A very simple game than Little Man really Likes.
Percy and Thomas race: Make Thomas race Percy by using the stylus to draw circles on the bottom screen as quickly and evenly as possible. You can see the two engines on the top screen so you can track who is winning. Little Man struggles a little bit with this one, which I think is a combination of getting distracted by the action on the top screen and finding it quite difficult to draw even rhythmic circles on the bottom one.
Wash Thomas - Very similar to Paint Thomas, only this time you have 3 rounds of scribbling over Thomas' body applying soap, water and then drying him off. Little Man loves this one, especially when he covers Thomas in bubbles.
Part Sorting: Help Victor by sorting out various train parts. The parts come along a conveyor belt and need to be placed in either the red, green or blue boxes depending on the colour of the part. This is Little Man's favourite mini game.
Match: 12 cards are placed face down and you need to use your memory to find the pairs of matching cards. I have really seen Little Man improve at this game going from frantically tapping the cards randomly to methodically looking for the pairs.
Shunt: Draw circles on the bottom screen at the right speed to shunt the truck into the lit box outside the shed. This is the most difficult of the mini games, and I struggle to get this one right. This is not really a favourite.
Snap: As the title suggests, this is the card game where you tap the screen when you make a pair. This is another game that Little Man struggled with initially, but is now playing like a pro, and has given him an interest in the actual card game too which is great.
Fix Hiro: Drag the part to the right place on Hiro and then hold each piece down to weld the piece on. This is another of Little Man's favourites as he loves to pretend he is fixing his toy engines.
Although the game is never going to win any awards for great graphics, they are definitely adequate for the game. The stills and moving footage are on par with an episode of Thomas and the games are simple so do not require any special effects. The sound is good, with no distortion at any point.
I really recommend this game. Although it is quite simplistic, it seems to be at a perfect level for Little Man, and I have seen lots of improvement in his concentration and hand eye coordination since we have started playing the game. I only let him play on it for a maximum of 30 minutes which is the whole story, but he rarely plays it for that long in one sitting unless he is playing in the car, as he normally likes to go off and get a few trains and do play out his own scenes with them! He does not seem to have tired of the game at all yet even after a few months, although I would say it has a limited shelf life as it does get quite repetitive. However, as he is still at the age where he can watch the same thing over and over, I can't see him tiring of this anytime soon!
I got our copy from Amazon for £12.99 delivered as I had some vouchers, but I believe you can pick up a used copy quite cheaply from places like Game or Ebay.
Summary: Great DS Thomas Game!
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