In Go Diego Go!: Safari Rescue for the Wii, 2K Play has partnered with Nickelodeon to create a preschool-friendly title. Based on in-home research conducted by Nickelodeon that looked at how preschoolers could best use the Wii controllers, the game incorporates 13 Wii-centric motions that are easily learned by preschoolers.
Kids ages 3 to 6 join Diego, the star of Nick Jr’s “Go, Diego, Go” television show, on an adventure that spans the continent of Africa. When a mean magician decides to wreak havoc on elephants and other African animals by changing them, Diego and his friends come to the rescue. With the help of a special Magic Drum, Diego is able to undo the magic of the evil magician. Among other things, Diego gives stripes back to the zebras, brings stone elephants back to life, and elongates the necks of shorten giraffes.
Kids join Diego on six rescue missions at different locations including the Savannah, the plains, and along a river bank. They direct Diego movements by turning the Wii remote sideways and then tilting it to the right or the left. The more you tilt, the faster Diego will run in the side-scrolling adventure. This world is fun to run through because you are constantly encountering trampolines that fling you to new locations, meerkat holes that send you sliding through the earth, and zipwires that let you soar over wide expanses. At each location you will help animals and collect special objects.
Unlike other video games, this game’s controls are very simple. For example, no timing is required to grab hold of a rope that is swinging by, you simply push the “2” button. And once airborne, you can’t fall. You just keep swinging until to hit the “2” button again.
But where this game really shines is with the 13 Wii-centric motions. Kids mimic real life motions to make them happen on the screen. If you want to swim across a lake, you make a swimming motion with you arms. To help some water buffalo grow back horns that the magician has taken away, you hold the Wii remote in one hand as you place your hands on the side of your head. Then you stretch out your arms and put them back on your head, repeating this motion until the horns have grown back. You can also mimic digging, flapping your ears like an elephant, waddling like a hippo, and playing a drum, and much more.
Another excellent preschool feature is the Safari Guide Helper Option which allows a grownup or older sibling to assist at specific times using a second remote. For example, when kids are helping Diego blow up a hot air balloon by pumping their arms up and down, if someone joins in with a second remote, the speed of the pumping increases and fun animations appear.
In addition to rescuing animals, kids will also ride a variety of vehicles and animals in travel minigames where the object is to navigate around obstacles. These games can be played separate from the adventure with friend in a two-person mode.
Go Diego Go!: Safari Rescue is an excellent introductory Wii game for young children. The preschool-friendly controls encourage kids to move while playing. In addition to just having fun, kids will learn animal facts from Diego and his friends, and use logic to select vehicles to navigate across difficult terrains. And at no time, will your wee gamer fail while playing this Wii game, which makes this game a winner.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.