This educational title's aim is to teach and entertain young
children. But does it take a genius to play?
There are many video games on the market today that attempt to
fulfill parents' demands for educational entertainment instead of
mindless drivel. Most seem to fail at both objectives--the learning
aspects tend to be off-putting for kids while the gaming aspects
just aren't entertaining enough. The Nintendo DS title Animal
Genius is one of the better games in this niche, especially
for very young novice gamers.
The basic premise of the game is for a player to collect 25
different animals for five geographical areas. In order to collect
them, the player has to win points by playing through four different
mini-games--Maze Munch, Scratch ‘N See, Creature Collector, and
Maze Munch is a basic puzzle game where the player has to guide
an animal through a maze to its food source. In Scratch 'N See, the
player rubs at the touch screen to reveal an animal picture.
Creature Collector is a matching game in which the player chooses
the animal that matches a certain criteria. Matchomatic is another
matching game where players drag animals to their proper locations
on the top screen.
Once kids earn enough points to collect an animal, they have to
answer 10 yes/no questions to unlock that animal. The questions are
fairly rudimentary, like "does a parrot have feathers?", but the
trick is to answer the questions within the time limit. Once the
player has unlocked an animal, the next animal requires more points
to unlock, which extends the play time somewhat.
Rated E for everyone with the caveat of some comic mischief, the
simple, colorful presentation and the easy gameplay make this game
especially delightful for small children. The joy for parents is the
educational aspect, with plenty of animal facts for the kids to
learn and even some assistance in teaching children to read.
There is one area in the Maze Munch that may be vaguely
disturbing to some children, where the lion leaps upon a zebra to
devour it, but that area is easily avoided. The only other downside
is the lack of challenge and replay value--the mini-games are very
simple to play and once the player has collected all 25 animals,
there's no solid reason to return. Children in the single digits
should find this game adorably engaging for a few days, though it
doesn’t take a genius to play Animal Genius.
- Educational and entertaining at once.
- Good for very young children.
- Lacking in replay value.
- Lack of depth and challenge.
For more information, user reviews, or to buy:
for the Nintendo DS
Reviewed: July 2009