With Dora the Explorer TV Games from Jakks Pacific, parents simply plug the Dora controller into their TV or VCR, and five different games appear on the television. This "plug and play" game is different from others because it is expandable. Parents can introduce new content by buying the inexpensive Dora "GameKey."
The games are housed in a special Dora controller, featuring the faces of Dora and Boots. The joystick looks like the character of The Map, and the two action buttons are star characters. It runs on 4 AA batteries.
From the Game Select Menu, kids can play an electronic board game called "Race to Play Park," which incorporates four mini-games. Or they can select each mini-game separately. If kids want to play the "Race to Play Park", they can do so with up to 3 friends.
The theme of the electronic board game is a race to beat Swiper the Fox to the Play Park. Kids take turns moving over the board and, during each turn, they play a memory activity and one of the four mini-games.
In one mini-game, kids repair a bridge by matching geometric shapes. In another, they use logic to dig a tunnel around rock obstacles. The other two mini-games are side-scrollers that challenge hand-eye coordination.
The Dora GameKey, a cartridge that slips into the top of the controller,
adds three more games: a simple soccer simulation, a penalty kick shootout and an educational platformer. In the latter, as kids jump from platform to platform, they look for the numbers 1 to 20 in order and collect colored stars to match patterns.
While the graphics in these games are grainy and the controls are a little spongy, the price is right. For $19.99, kids get five fun Dora games, two of which are educational. And by adding the Dora GameKey for $9.99, kids can unlock exciting additional content. These games are a good way to introduce young children to the strategies found in video games.
This is an inexpensive alternative to Leapster or VSmile.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.