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If you have young children, you most likely know who Dora the Explorer is and all about her talking backpack. This game is on a DVD format, so your child will need a DVD drive on the computer they play it on. This means, if like us, you tarted up a Freecycled PC so your child can leave YOUR PC alone, you will need to fork out a few quid for a DVD player for it.
This game is a natural extension of the TV series it is spun off from. The TV series has a computer game feel, with the "mouse cursor" that appears on the screen after Dora asks your child a question, so this game is like suddenly actually being IN the show for your child. Like the series, your child will go on a walk (in this to the library) with Dora and her backpack, and along the way, meets up with Boots, Benny the bull, Tico the squirrel, and others. They solve puzzles and explore on the way to the library, and once there, there are activities relating to the books each character wishes to return. Series staples The Grumpy Old Troll and Swiper the Fox are on hand to try to ruin the day, so watch out! All this fun and a bit of Spanish thrown in too! Needless to say, Backpack is central in this adventure, and without him, no one could get those books to the library safely!
The puzzles are set up as mini games that cover aspects of the National Curriculum, taking place along the way to the library. You have a balloon adventure, where the child has to follow numbered flags, choosing the numbers that Benny the Bull calls out, and once you reach the end, you find a slide to slide down. Another game is set within a flower garden and involves watering the flowers in order to earn a sticker used to make a picture. And nor is the final destination of the library quite the end of the fun and games either. The chocolate tree from the TV series also makes an appearance, and your child gains more dexterity with the mouse as he manoevers the bucket to catch chocolate leaves (where can I buy a tree like this?). There is a yet another task at the library itself, where the child matches the books to the character who wants to check that book out. Teaching observation, reasoning, numbers, and of course a bit of Spanish, this is a fun romp for preschoolers and children in Reception.
The game is designed to work on XP , installs easily, and as I mentioned, is on DVD. The animation is smooth, and is very like watching the show on television. Easy to navigate, the play levels are simple enough for even my 3 year old son to play by himself, though a child will need to be fairly proficient in using a mouse.. This simplicity does not detract from the appeal it has for my 5 year old, however. She will happily play it again and again, and returns to replay this game at least once a week. She finds the simplicity great as she can play through the game at one game session and not be left hanging until she is allowed more computer time, unlike many other games.
Retailing at £13.99, you can also rent this title from Amazon if you are a member of their DVD rental club (if not, they do a 2 week free trial) as it is a DVD. I have to say if you have a Dora fan, this makes a nice little gift, and if you have more than one Dora fan, it is an absolute bargain. This was a birthday gift received by my daughter last year, and one of the most played with. We look forward to getting her the next game in the series, and her enjoyment of this was so great, we succumbed and ordered her the Click and Create Dora set. Be warned...
Can you see the monkey? Where is the monkey?