V-Motion combines motion-activated video gaming with educational content to teach 3- to 7-year-olds math, reading, science, spelling, and logical thinking.
The V-Motion system comes with a 12-by-7 inch console that plugs into your television, using the AV input jacks. It also has a wireless controller which features an outsized joystick, a large "Enter" button, and four smaller colored buttons. The console unit uses four AA batteries, and the controller runs on three AAAs. The system comes bundled with the Action Mania game.
So, does it work? Yes, but this controller is not as responsive as the Wii remote. In Action Mania kids will tilt the controller from side to side and up and down to make on-screen characters balance on a moving ball, race in a car or on a bobsled, or play tennis. There is a delay factor from when you make a motion with the controller to when things happen on the screen, so kids need to anticipate when they need to move the controller. At times, they will make a motion, but it won't be recognized.
The educational content shows up in the games in a variety of ways. In the game involving a kid balancing on a ball, you move the character through a maze-type environment while trying to roll over healthy foods and avoid unhealthy foods. When racing in a car, you will be asked to race over letters to spell words. Unfortunately, you come up on the letters so fast that it is hard to tilt the controller the correct way to run over the desired letter.
While kids play by moving the controller, the game doesn't do much to get kids physically moving, since the suggested movements are limited to tilting right and left and pulling up, all actions that can be done while sitting. However, when playing tennis, instead of pulling up on the controller as suggested, our testers tried standing up and holding the controller sideways to swing it as if it was a racquet; and it worked most of the time.
Since V-Motion has great potential to encourage kids to move while they are gaming, we also reviewed Kung Fu Panda: Path of the Panda, one of the eight add-on games launching with this new system.
The game play in Kung Fu Panda was much more creative, in-depth, and motion-encouraging. For example, kids are asked to pretend they are doing Kung Fu moves while holding the controller. If they shake the controller around as they go through their moves, it will trigger Kung Fu Panda to perform impressive moves on the screen.
Additionally, in Kung Fu Panda, the motion-activated gaming is very intuitive for young children. If you want a character to run to the right, you simply tilt the controller to the right. And if a character is running toward you and needs to jump over an obstacle, you simply lift up the controller to make the character jump. This game is much better than the short Action Mania game bundled with the system.
With additional educational games available at $24.99, including such favorites as WALL-E, Thomas & Friends, Mickey Mouse Club, and Dora the Explorer, families should have plenty of opportunities to explore the possibilities of this new gaming system.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.