Jake Power, Ubisoft's new action hero, is a young man who stars in a series of Nintendo DS games. The series is intended to be played by boys ages 5 to 8 and will see Jake learning to be a fireman, a policeman, and a handyman. In each game, Jake is joined by Dino, his loyal dinosaur friend.
To play Jake Power Fireman, kids go on a series of missions with Jake, a fireman-in-training. Kids join Jake as he fights fires, rescues both cats and people, and stops the water tower from leaking.
Boys can jump right into the missions by selecting the Action Mode or they can combine the missions with a story by selecting the Adventure Mode. In both, missions start with a race to the scene of trouble, during which kids steer the fire truck down city streets while blowing the siren.
Upon arriving at their destination, kids continue the mission by playing a series of fire-fighting minigames that make use of both the stylus and the ability to blow into the microphone. In one minigame, you will help unwind hoses by following onscreen cues to use your stylus to draw circles in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion. In another, you will put out fires erupting from the windows of a skyscraper by tapping on the flames as they leap out of the windows. Kids will also blow into the microphone to extinguish fires, and use the stylus to direct a water hose to douse newly erupting fires. In all, there are seven minigames in addition to the pre-mission race.
The minigames rotate as you play through the missions, with new ones being periodically introduced. As you progress, the minigames get harder and there are more strung together within a mission.
At the end of a mission, if you did well enough to earn stars in the minigames using your quick reflexes, you can unlock cool new accessories for Jake's fire rescue vehicle. You can add bigger wheels, better flashers, tricked-out bumpers, louder sirens, and eventually a bigger rig. Then, all these additions show up when you drive the rescue vehicle to your next mission.
Since this is a game for young children, no one gets hurt in the game. If Jake fails to put out a fire, he doesn't get enveloped in flames; rather the game just stops and you are told you lost the minigame, and it immediately starts over. It may take some children repeated tries to win. A slight flaw in this game design is the inability to go on if you fail at a minigame. However, the controls are pretty forgiving, so if kids persevere, they should be able to win.
This game does a great job of creating excitement about fighting fires. The sound effects and music create a sense of urgency as you play, but without overwhelming you. And in the Adventure Mode, kids will unravel a funny story about fire-inducing hamburgers.
Unfortunately there are no female firefighters in this game, just a male fire chief and Jake. However, this is a great choice for little boys who are fascinated by firemen. By playing, they learn some of the things that firemen do in real life. And if they play all the way through the 12 missions, they will help Jake to become a real fireman.
If your kids like this one, check out the Jake Power Policeman, it is also quite good.
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