With Buzz Lightyear in the lead, children go on missions to fight the evil Zurg. The software uses a learn-so-you-can-play approach. Kids tackle four educational activities to earn fuel needed to fly a spaceship through four arcade-type games. In the arcade games, which are just for fun, players collect needed items or blow up dangerous things to accomplish the missions’ objectives.
The educational activities all take place on a grid. The setup for the four activities is the same—Buzz or Mira Nova (Buzz’s shipmate) push 3-D blocks around the grid to accomplish an educational objective. What is on the blocks varies in each of the four activities. It ranges from letters to form words to mathematical symbols and numbers to form equations.
Kid-testers liked playing the arcade games, but they noticed that they aren’t very original. For example, youngsters maneuver to avoid being hit by enemy ships, or they race around a nebula track. Predictably, playing the games consumes spaceship fuel quickly, forcing kids to tackle the educational challenges to earn “fuel” to play more arcade games.
Kid-testers complained about the lack of variety in the educational activities. This weakness greatly affected kids’ overall willingness to play the 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.