Available via download for $19.95 from www.beanstalkgames.com, Bob the Builder: Can-Do Zoo offers preschoolers ages 3 to 5, a fun way to play with fix-it man Bob and his machine friends Scrambler, Scoop, and Muck. Boxed versions of the game will be available in stores in September.
The game offers a short story mode about how a bunch of zoo animals were accidentally delivered to Bob’s town before any zoo enclosures had been built. When the animals breakout of their crates, they wreak havoc in the town. Bob finds the elephants hanging out in the opera house; and the monkeys have commandeered the pubic park. Kids join Bob and his truck friends to build five enclosures for the elephants, penguins, monkeys, alligators, and lions.
To construct the enclosures, kids play a series of building games with Bob. The games can be played on three levels of difficulty. On the easiest, kids will do things like paint the fence for the enclosure by completing a simple pattern of alternating colors. On the harder levels, the patterns get more complicated and incorporate more colors of paint.
In all, there are seven educational games that teach patterning, color and shape recognition, object classification and problem solving. These games can be played separately from the adventure. Every time children finish a round of a game, they earn a Bob the Builder sticker that can be used in a separate art activity.
If you have a Bob the Builder fan in your house, this software is a good choice. The games are easy to play and appropriate for preschoolers. With three levels of difficulty, the games grow with children as they learn. And the games are designed to never let your child fail, a hallmark of good preschool software. For example, one of the games has your child sorting paint brushes and saws. If you child tries to put the paintbrush in the wrong bin, the game won’t let him and tells him to “Try again.”
While the graphics are flat and the animations won’t win any awards, the game does a good job of staying true to the license. Little girls’ favorite Wendy is missing, but otherwise Bob and his friends make for fun gaming companions.
This software would have been better if it were longer, with more enclosures to build and additional games to play. As is, it’s still a good title for preschoolers.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.