Players join the Algorithmics, a teen rock band, to help save the world from the evil menace named Silencer, who is stealing the world's music.
To win the game, children must explore four locations: Air, Rainforest, Water and Desert. At each location, the game has four levels of play followed by a battle level with the Silencer. Both the educational content and the game play mechanics get harder as kids succeed at the earlier levels.
Kids use the Leapster's 4-directional gamepad and its "A" button to climb up ladders and vines, jump on moving platforms and trampolines, slide down ramps, and flip switches to open new areas. In addition, players fight bad guys by playing loud music. The game also incorporates the answering of academic questions into the game play. For example, to answer a question like 50+49, kids must jump onto the platform labeled 99 and not jump on the one labeled 55. Reaching the correct answer can sometimes be quite tricky because platforms can be moving or a jump requires skillful timing.
For newbies to gaming, the adventure starts with a tutorial explaining the mechanics of how to play, including how to jump onto platforms, break through blocks, climb up ladders, manipulate answer blocks, and other aspects of the game. The game also has a great tutorial section that explains the math and language arts concepts that are tested within the game.
For kids who enjoy playing video games, Leapster 2nd Grade is a good fit. It combines challenging platform puzzle play with academic review for second and rising third graders. However, parents should know that Leapster 2nd Grade can be quite challenging for those children new to video gaming. Our testers found that while they would frequently know the correct answer to an academic question, they might get it wrong because they could not make their character jump onto the correct platform.
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