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Children's Software Review:    Barbie of Swan Lake CD-ROM (The Enchanted Forest)

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Whether your kids have seen the new direct-to-video CGI-animated Barbie movie or not, if they're Barbie fans, they'll enjoy this sweet CD-ROM. Barbie of Swan Lake CD-ROM borrows characters and settings (Barbie as Odette and Lila the Unicorn, and the Enchanted Forest, respectively) from the movie, and effectively "enchants" children with gentle and creative games. 

While some movie tie-in CD-ROMs reenact story lines, this program simply offers children a fun creative time in a rich setting. The program's graphics are stunning--lush and truly enchanting--and the audio track adds to the peaceful atmosphere. 

The story behind the game is simple--Lila the unicorn is preparing a Moonlight Picnic for her friend, Odette (Barbie), but has accidentally removed the magic from the Enchanted Forest. This is where young players step in--it is their job to restore the magic to the forest. At sign-in, kids are told of the special occasion. Humans, you see, are not normally allowed entry into the forest. Their mission is clear, and kids set out to re-enchant, if you will, the five areas of the forest.

The five areas of the forest that are in need of restoration include the likes of Swan Lake, Flower Tree, and Fairy Valley. At the outset, each area looks dismal and drab, but with the help of magical wands, children can dress up the environments with lush and rich details. 

Each area of the forest is home to a special activity. One involves solving a "Reflection Puzzle", another requires sorting swan eggs according to their color and patterns and then feeding the hatching swans (see picture at left), and so forth. One especially clever activity involves planting flowers in a planter. Kids need to listen to the tunes that each flower plays in order to determine whether they play a part in the Tchaikovsky song Odette plays. This activity is a pleasant exercise in audio discrimination.

Kids need to find six special hidden items in each area of the forest in order to earn each of the five magical wands required to give the forest a complete magical makeover. Once the six items are found in any given area, kids are transported to the Magic Vault (pictured at right) where they pay attention to a secret recipe that will effectively enchant their new wand. Each wand has its own special properties, such as the Rainbow Wand that allows kids to paint areas of the forest in a glorious rainbow hue. Bottles in the Magic Vault flash in a specific order and kids need to repeat that order in order to enchant their wand.

It is sometimes difficult to find special items and to know when a specific area is completely decorated (or "enchanted"), but with a little patience, most children will enjoy these quiet, pleasant activities. The overall effect of the game is a soothing one, so even when kids get stuck, they generally move on to another area before returning to complete an area with a fresh mind. 

 

                       ....MORE (see screenshots and notes from the game)

 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Barbie of Swan Lake]

 
Pros:
  • Nice design.
  • Gorgeous and immersive graphics.
  • Soothing and calming program that provides light and pleasant entertainment.
 

 

Cons:
  • Low educational value and occasionally frustrating game play. 

 

 

 

For Win/Mac By: Vivendi Universal  Ages 4-9 Published: 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
See Also: 
 

Barbie - Swan Lake
Barbie - Swan Lake
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com

Our Rating:

A-

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Barbie of Swan Lake  at Amazon.com

 

Buy Barbie Of Swan Lake at Amazon.ca

 

Reviewed October 2003                                                                                            Comments? Email us.
 
 

 


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