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My Amusement Park
SCREENSHOTS

My Amusement Park

6/17/2011

19.99

Kids become amusement park designers in the simulation game for the Nintendo DS.
The Bottom Line
Fun, simple amusement park sim with logic games.

How to Play

My Amusement Park is a game that invites kids to design their own amusement park. They are provided with the layout of an empty park and $900 to start purchasing attractions. As the park builder, kids choose a theme which can include Mountains, Safari, Desert, or Tropical. Next, they scroll through a variety of rides, food pavilions and amusements to add to the park. Each costs money to build. For example, if you select the Octopus Ride, it will cost you $200 to build whereas a Bumper Cars ride will cost $500.

But there is more to building a ride than just selecting it and paying the money. Kids will also need to play memory games to help construct the ride. They will look at the ride's schematic plan and try to remember where all the pieces go. Then the ride will break apart, and they will be tasked with using the stylus to drag and drop the scrambled parts into the correct places.

Game Analysis

Kids can run through the initial $900 pretty quickly. Luckily, the game provides many ways for players to earn more money so that they can continue to expand their park. One way is to play a maintenance game. The game sends alerts when a ride, food venue or special attraction breaks down. When kids click on the alert, they are taken to a special game where they must drag pipes or wires onto a schematic to make them all fit. By solving this puzzle correctly, kids fix the ride or attraction and it starts making money again.

There are also six management games to play to earn more money. These vary greatly, but many involve logical thinking. For example, the one called Parking Lot Jam is a take-off of the popular "Rush Hour" puzzle when cars are jammed into a parking lot grid. You have to figure out the order in which to move the cars so that you create a path for the designated car to make it to the exit. In another game, you must study the ride's seating area, and then grab parts off a conveyor belt to match the picture on the top screen and recreate the ride's broken part.
For parents looking to add some intellectual challenge to their kids gaming, this is a perfect choice. Kids will love the build-your-own-park theme and will enjoy playing the logic games to earn enough money to build their favorite rides.

By playing, kids will start to understand how a real amusements park makes money. The game creates an artificial time within the game and periodically designates the end of a day. At that time, kids earn money from the attractions they have built. They will also have to budget money to save so that they can afford the more expensive rides.
The game has a excellent support system and offers players suggestions of things to do through the park's information booth. These suggestions change as days pass in the park, but lead to playing the game's eight different memory and logic games.

Even kids as young as age 5 can play My Amusement Park because the game speaks all of its instructions out loud. While the budgeting part of the game may go over their heads, they can still have fun building rides and playing the logic and memory games because all of those games come in three levels of difficulty. Older kids will want to play the games on the higher difficulty levels for more of a challenge, and because they will earn money more quickly.

Best For

My Amusement Park is a good introduction to simulation games for kids ages 5 to 8. Nothing ever gets too complicated in this game, and there is very little micromanagement. For some older kids, they may feel that the parks they build are too small; but for the kids targeted by this game, the smallness is just fine.

So here is a good prescription for having fun during the summer: plan a trip to your favorite amusement park; and when you do, remember to pack the sunscreen and this My Amusement Park game. You will be amazed by how your kids become more savvy about the business of running a park.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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My Amusement Park
Company: Scholastic
Price: 19.99
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Available: Amazon

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