In a series of 27 missions, players help Matchbox County by driving police vehicles, fire engines, or rescue vehicles. While this is a cool theme, the mechanics of playing this program make it difficult for young children to become a hero.
The program opens with a rescue vehicle shown on the screen. There is no tutorial or explanation of how to maneuver this vehicle. Young children will have to rely on their parents’ reading the instruction booklet to figure out how to use either the arrow keys and/or the mouse.
Once the player (and his parent) figures out how to move, frustration will occur because these controls are difficult to use. Testers inadvertently ran over street signs, mailboxes, and even pedestrians in their attempts to drive their vehicles. One player accidentally crashed through a barrier and ended up stuck in a ravine for several disconcerting minutes.
An off-screen dispatcher informs the player of a problem in Matchbox County. The player then drives by following arrows on the top of the screen to the spot where a citizen needs help, a crime is occurring, or a fire needs to be put out. When the player arrives at the spot, a movie sequence shows the activity of the rescue, and that ends the mission.
There is very little to do in this software other than drive, and even that is not satisfying! If you have a matchbox car fan in your family, spend your money on the toy cars and skip this software.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.