Dora the Explorer Super Star Adventures is a Nintendo Game Boy Advance (“GBA”) title designed specifically for preschoolers. Unlike most GBA titles, which use written words to communicate with youngsters, this one uses symbols, pictures, and a few spoken words—no reading is required. Even better, game play is tailored so preschoolers can’t fail at the title’s activities. Here’s how it works.
To start, preschoolers select one of six Explorer Stars to join them during their adventures with Dora. Each Explorer Star has a special power such as the ability to be noisy, or the talent to create music—but the player has to catch the star before it will help. To catch a star, kids play a simple but fun hide-and-seek activity.
Staying true to the Dora the Explorer television show, each of the six adventures sends preschoolers to three locations, as shown by the Map character. Activities at the locations include maze navigation, matching games, side-scrolling race games, a "Frogger"-type leap-across-logs activity, a complete-the-pattern activity, and a play-a-song game.
Super Star Adventures is designed to make play easy for preschoolers. In the maze activity, Pointer Star appears to point the way so youngsters won’t be confused when the maze continues on multiple screens. In the side-scrolling race games, kids use the control pad to navigate and avoid obstacles. If the players run into something, they don’t fall off or crash, they just stop. And if they are playing with Noisy Star, she will make noise and the obstacle will move out of the way. In the Frogger-type game, players can’t fall off the logs into the water. If they attempt to leap at the wrong time, they simply won’t move.
This GBA game is good for preschoolers, but it is not perfect. The complete-the-pattern game is confusing, and youngsters don’t have any way to save an activity and continue playing it later.
This title is worth considering if you already own a GBA. If you are thinking of buying a handheld gaming system for your preschooler, choose the Leapster. Its content is better and more educational.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.