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We bought ourselves as a family a wii for Christmas - better late than never!!
My 7 year old daughter had this game from a friend for Christmas, she was so excited to have her own game.
It is a lovely game, the design and graphics are great and the colours are very girly, it's a girls game through and through I would say.
There are two parts to it, there's a quick fun 1 or 2 player racing game and a longer 1 player adventure game.
The quick racing game is quite fun, basically the child chooses the type of transport they would like to use from things like ski's, boat, sledge etc and then they have to collect snow flakes by driving into them along the way, it's very easy to use there are no bad bits and it's not a race in time but in how many you've collected. You then get a bronze, silver or gold award. Even though my daughter has now got gold she still loves having a go! With the two player again you can choose the mode of transport and it's possible to have two types of transport, it's not a race against each other to win but how many snowflakes you catch. Boots is the other player! My 10 year old joined in with the 7 year old and they had great fun - although I must admit my 10 year old is a little behind other 10 year olds so it's probably not suitable for all 10 year olds!
The adventure game is great, you have to collect things and roll snowballs along the way, all the time the game tells you exactly what to do and it stops to have time to explain which I like. It's basically like how Dora's adventures on television work, she will ask you what she needs from the backpack to get past the next bit. Some of the controls took a bit of working out to jump etc but my daughter soon managed it with ease.
All in all for a good easy to use and enjoyable first game it's great. I would well recommend it. I also think it helps them learn the skills to control the controls for other games later.
It's not too long so they can't be on it too long which I like and as with all games you can pause anyway if you need to stop for something. Being as it's been so cold here it's been nice for them to have something to play.
I notice at the moment Asda have it for £11.95 bargain, also it's in Argos for £15 which is good price.
To the preschooler market Dora and Boots need no introduction - chances are if you hear an under 5 counting in Spanish as they go up the slide, they are a fan rather than a child genius.
I bought this game for my 5 year old, as a first experience of playing with a console game - she had previously had a go at some of the games on Wii sport and proved to be pretty clueless. I did worry that by buying a game aimed at her age group I was opening a bit of a Pandora's box - she should be busy playing outside and learning things at this crucial age - but actually "Dora saves the Snow Princess" proved to be an accessible, fun if fairly short game, that is great for a rainy day.
In this game the vague story is that Dora has to complete different missions to find the magic snow crystal that will stop the snow melting and stop the witch in her plans. The format of each mini game is the same, and familiar to fans from the show. It starts with a map and the child must select where to go, just like in the show, and shout "map" and "back pack" at the screen, in a tried and tested Dora manner. The whole game is set in various snowy worlds, as you might assume from the title.
The controls are child's play, literally. You move left and right by tilting the stick, and the child also gets to use the stick for other fun Dora and Boots activities. The child controls Dora, this is a one player game, but a parent can control a snowflake to help out if necessary.
I found even my 3 year old could work out how to wave the control to raise flags, get Boots to look for treasure at Dora's command, jump, climb ladders and flap the unicorn's wings to fly or jump, or sweep away snow drifts. Apparently the raising of the flag is the "most fun".
The controls are very forgiving but do encourage movement from the child, and are very intuitive even for the youngest.
I would say that this game has been extremely well designed for this age group - you only need to use the stick and the "2" button - and when you need the button it even shows on the screen to tell you. The child can feel a sense of satisfaction as they collect items and complete tasks, or slide down things - they can't really "fail" as such - which is just right for this age who tend to get frustrated easily.
Instructions are given at the start of the game at each new thing - this does get a bit annoying for a parent watching, it does stop and start a lot but they do learn how to play quickly. You can press (-) to skip the cut scenes - the American Dora accent may grate for some, I found the pronunciation of "lever" particularly annoying, however this kind of comes with the territory with Dora. The actual voices from the show have been used and are completely familiar to fans.
The graphics are faithful to the show, I am more used to PS3 graphics so find the wii graphics a lot more basic - but to the child lack of HD is irrelevant the characters ARE the ones from the show to them, and my 3 year old was entranced, for her it was magical getting Dora to complete the tasks.
This is not a long game - I would say that if you let them they could probably complete the whole thing in 3 hours. However, this doesn't really matter at this age as they will be happy to go back and play again, or so we have found. In doing so they are able to find and pick up crystals they didn't spot the first time or explore new areas.
There are 12 mini games in all, at the end of each stage there is a mini race which just requires the child to move to left and right, again by tilting to pick up crystals.
I would say a child from 3 up to about 5 would enjoy this - my nearly 6 year old is a bit old really, a bit past the Dora stage, but she did still enjoy it.
It might have been nice if this could have been properly 2 player - but I suppose children might find it hard to play and cooperate at this age. There is a two player race mini game, but the main game, which, as I have explained is mission based is for one player only.
For £14.99, which is how much I paid for this at Sainsbury's (slightly dearer at amazon) I think this game is fairly good value. It is spot on for the age it is designed for, you get the feeling they have actually tested this with children.
I would recommend this as a first game - just be aware that it isn't the longest game ever, and despite the game designer's claims it isn't particularly educational - it is, however, great fun and they can play it by themselves or with you watching. We have all enjoyed playing this game in one way or another and would recommend it as a first wii game.
(edited version on ciao in my name)