Fans of Disney's "Little Einsteins" television show can now go on seven interactive missions with its stars Leo, June, Annie and Quincy by playing the Disney's Little Einsteins video game. While this Nintendo Game Boy Advance game incorporates many aspects of the television show, including exposing young children to classical music, famous art, and science, it doesn't live up to the high standards of the show.
This video game falls short in part due to the limitations of the Game Boy Advance platform. The audience for this game is preschoolers, thus non-readers, and yet it is played on a system where game explanation is provided by written not spoken word. The game features classical music, but the Game Boy Advance system is only capable of producing music that sounds tinny. And while the game mechanics are simple (press the "A" on level 1, and add the multi-directional button on level 2), these buttons are small and hard for little hands to use.
While flawed, the Little Einsteins game manages to break some new ground. The game does a good job of adapting the format of the television show into a gaming format. As on the show, kids join the precocious Little Einsteins on missions that incorporate famous artwork and classical music.
The main menu of the game offers seven masterpieces, including works by Rousseau, Gauguin, Seurat, and Van Gogh. Each painting leads to a mission which contains three games. In one, the Little Einsteins' mission is to find a new song. The friends jump into their animated friend, Rocket, and fly over tall mountains to collect the notes of the song. The game of collecting notes is a side-scrolling game where kids must hit the "A" button to engage the rocket ship's booster in time to soar over the mountains. After collecting the notes, kids discover that they have collected the William Tell Overture by Rossini. The friends hear the overture in the forest, and they must correctly navigate through the forks in the path by listening to determine which path has the correct music playing. Before the mission ends, kids have also helped to build a famous painting by pushing on the "A" button repeatedly to make the pieces to Rousseau's "Exotic Landscape" appear within a picture frame.
While there are seven such missions, each with three games, there are really only six unique games. The remaining 15 games are simply variations of the six. However, the games can be played on two levels of difficulty.Here's the bottom line
: The target audience for this game, kids ages 4 to 6, is going to need help from an adult to read and learn to play. And while exposing young children to art and music within the context of a video game is a great idea, these enriching activities don't vary much. For families who already own a GBA, this game may be worth exploring; otherwise parents might want to bypass this game and explore the Little Einstein interactive games offered on the computer for free at www.PlayhouseDisney.com
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