Tag Archives: Review

Happy Feet 2 XBox 360 Game Review

The Happy Feet 2 game is a family game aimed at children from 3 years old. As I haven’t personally played this game I asked my 7 year old if she would like to review it. Here are her thoughts.

The object of this game is a mixture of things,for instance collecting penguins and when you have done that you have to do a few things to get to the exit.On some levels you don’t have to collect penguins, you have to do things like races.

I think this is a really good game and is very good for education,because it can help small children recognise where and what the buttons/controls mean.  I have enjoyed going through the levels (so far I have got to stage 11)some levels can be very hard but others are quite easy .

I like doing the challenges,especially on levels 5 and 13 where all you have to do is do what you would do in a challenge,on some levels you have a timer .In challenges you have to press a different button when a red ball hits the button.

On some levels you have to race another penguin/character,these levels are the hardest for me.

By E McClary.Age 7

Clear as mud? Clearly she has enjoyed playing it and is progressing nicely through the levels.

Personally I think this game is a missed opportunity.  When I heard that we were getting a Happy Feet 2 game to review I expected it to be a Kinect game with lots of funky dance moves.  I’m really not sure why a game about a dancing penguin would not involve real dancing when the technology is out there to support it. As it stands I think it would be a fun game on a hand held console but am a little disappointed that there isn’t more to it for the bigger consoles.

A preview copy of the game was received for the purpose of this review.  No payment was received.

Lego Harry Potter 5-7 Years – A Review

My 7 Year old is steadily working her way through the Harry Potter books, so this game has arrived at an opportune moment.   Lego Harry Potter 5-7 years covers  the last 3 books of the series and as my daughter is currently reading the 6th book she was able to explain some of the characters to me (I only ever read to book 4).  We have a Star Wars  Lego game for the Nintendo DS which is a firm favourite so my expectations for this game were high.

My daughter played it alone and with a friend.  They took it in turns to complete and solve different problems, helping each other out along the way.  You can play the game with 2 controllers each player taking the part of a different character.  This feature works really well and stimulates lots of discussion. It also makes me realise how much better children are at these things than me.

It is a very long time since I spent any time playing video games.  This weekend I had a cold and decided to sit for 3 hours and play Harrry Potter 5-7 Years snuggled up in my quilt.  It was compelling and addictive and suitably challenging to keep me engaged.  I could have used my daughters help at some points as I wandered aimlessly in the dark trying to find a tap. We discovered the following day that she had turned the brightness down and it wasn’t supposed to be a night-time game at all!  I managed to complete the first level and played a little of the next level with my daughter the next day. I am suitably hooked.

The animations that tell the story in between each level are compelling and new characters appear as the game unfolds.  Each character has a special skill such as rebuilding blue Lego structures or using an invisibility cloak.

What was my 7 year olds opinion?

It is excellent because some characters can do some things which other characters can’t do and you can perform different spells just by pressing the spell-wheel button.

She has even drawn an image of how the controls work for the XBox 360 version.

The game lived up to my high expectations, my daughter is coming home from school and asking if she can switch it on and I am looking forward to playing it with her and on my own.  Good credit all round.

 

This review is based on the XBox 360 game, it is also available on other consoles.

A preview copy of the game was received for the purpose of the review.  No payment was received  for writing this review.

Disney Universe – a Review

It is quite a while since we used our Xbox 360 without the Kinect unit so I wasn’t sure how my 7 year old would react to a conventional game. However after playing Disney Universe for a few days she announced “I love this game”.

Disney Universe is a game for 1-4 players aimed at children aged 7-12. Players dress up as Disney characters and unlock further costumes as they progress.

I wasn’t sure whether a Disney game may be a little twee for the target audience. However the 6 Disney Worlds that the game moves through are suitably dark and adventurous. We have yet to progress from the Pirates of the Caribbean level, but there is plenty of action and problem solving to engage children.  It certainly isn’t girly and pretty.

Each level of Disney Universe has a mission to complete, puzzles to solve and enemies to defeat. As you move around the world, arrows and hints appear to instruct your mission. Some of these my 7 year old found quite challenging but we enjoyed being able to play the game together and work co-operatively to solve the puzzles.

The game works equally well with one or multiple players, it can be played collaboratively working together to solve the mission or competitively to see who can reach the highest score and collect the most gold coins.

I am looking forward to seeing some of the other worlds like Alice in Wonderland and Monsters Inc.

There is further downloadable content with Disney Universe that we haven’t had a chance to look at yet. I think that there is plenty to keep my daughter entertained for some time to come.

Disney Universe is also available for Wii and PS3 Consoles.

For the purpose of this review I received a promotional copy of the game . No fee was paid for writing this review.

Lego Games – Just for Boys?

 

The good people at Netmums have been kind enough to let me and my 7 year old daughter review  a Lego game.  I say ‘kind’ because the original request went out to boys.  Strange, I thought, I’ve always thought of Lego as a unisex toy. Having heard good things about Lego games, I thought it was worth asking if they would like a girl’s perspective and hey presto our wish was granted.  My daughter has been eagerly awaiting the postman for weeks, especially as I promised she could invite 2 of her friends to test it with her.

The game that finally arrived was Ramses Return.  It is described as a memory game suitable for children aged 7+.  So far so good, Egypt is a fairly unisex topic and memory games are generally popular in our household.

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Before playing the game you need to build the board and the die which adds another dimension to the toy.  We had fun building it together and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.  It comes with a funny little tool (the red thing in the picture) to lift the tiles from the die  if you want to change it around . This is (as are many of the other pieces) very small.  In our house this means that tidy away time would need to be supervised to ensure that no pieces went missing or were eaten by toddlers, babies or dogs.

The rules are easy to follow.  The object of the game is to move around the board collecting crystals and treasure, some of which are hidden under domes.  If the die lands on a colour, you have to check the domes to see if you can find a matching crystal, the domes then can be placed back on the board in any position, so you need to remember where each colour is. If the mummy passes through your space you lose a piece of treasure and go back to the start. The winner is the first to collect 3 different pieces of treasure. The treasure and crystals fit neatly onto the heads of the playing people, my daughter loved balancing the funny hats on their heads.

We have played the game twice so far, once just the 2 of us and again with 3 children plus my 2 year old and myself playing together.  When it was just the 2 of us it took about 10 minutes to play.  I liked this because often board games are quite long and it is difficult to find long enough stretches of time when the babies are not around for us to play. With 4 players it took considerably longer, one of the boys became bored before it finished and then they all gave up.  The boy who gave up playing was younger than the recommended age so this may have been a factor, also because the board is so small with 4 players it is quite difficult to sit around it.  We passed it from player to player instead.

The thing that I loved most about the game is that it promotes creativity by encouraging you to change the rules.  We changed a number of rules such as when a player landed on your space you had to give them a crystal and if you choose an empty dome you had to go back 2 spaces.  It was lovely to see the children negotiating the rule changes.

So was the game a hit with girls?  I think that is a resounding yes.

Leapfrog Maths Adventure to the Moon–A Review and the chance to win one of 3 copies.

Maths Adventure DVD 3DI wouldn’t recommend that you teach a child mathematical concepts via a DVD, however for all of us the electronic babysitter is at times a necessary evil .  If the kids are going to watch DVDs without me I’d like to know that it’s well made and entertaining and if it’s educational too that’s an added bonus.  Our kids watch DVDs in the car on long journeys, I think my husband may throw the Mr Men out of the window if he hears the music one more time, so a new addition to the collection is always welcome.

My 2 year old and 7 year old watched the DVD together, I didn’t expect the 7 year old to enjoy a DVD about counting but actually it has lots of levels and would appeal to a mixture of ages.  She managed to watch it till the end and  I even caught her joining in with the counting in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.  The story revolves around  Tad and Lily ,a girl and a boy frog who are finding maths difficult and go on a journey to space where they see how maths can be applied in all kinds of contexts.MathsAdv1  It explores simple concepts like counting to 10, but also counting backwards, counting in 2’s 5’s and 10’s , following repeated patterns, sorting by shape, size and colour and simple addition. Many of these are introduced using a catchy song helping to engage the younger children.  My 2 year old has asked to watch it again after watching a few times so I think it will be popular with her.  I would say it is ideally suited to children aged between 2 and 6. It lasts around 40 minutes and there are additional features including 5 songs and a sorting game.

It is a good quality, entertaining DVD that I think children would enjoy for a number of years before growing out of it.  Don’t use it as a quick fix to teach your child maths, but if you want to use it to back up playful, active mathematical learning then I think it is a good choice.

This never before seen on television title is released on May 9th with an RRP. of £9.99. 

I have 3 copies of this DVD to give away.  To be in with a chance simply subscribe to my blog or post a comment on any of my posts before 9th May .  Winners will be chosen at random on that date.

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Only available to UK residents.

Please supply a valid email address so that you can be contacted if you have won.

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Simply Pure – A Review

I often describe my laundry basket as the ever flowing porridge pot from the fairy tale.  Therefore, when my tubs of Simply washing tablets were delivered courtesy of Netmums, an opportunity to finally empty it presented itself. I should be the ideal candidate to review washing powder.  My eldest suffers from nose bleeds,  middle child is prone to falling in muddy puddles, the baby has just started on solids, I wash my own nappies and my clothes permanently have baby sick shoulder.

I have to say that washing powder is not something I am generally enthusiastic about. I’m not brand loyal , usually favouring  own brand products and I still use old fashioned powder as it usually goes further.   

First impressions

I liked the neat little plastic tubs and could easily see them being useful for storing the kids little bits once they were empty.  One  thing that did strike me however was that 15 washes per tub wasn’t an awful lot and since Simply has an eco friendly label there could be a lot of wasted packaging.  I wonder whether they could do a refill service to save on packaging?

The Washing

So now to put it to the test.  My first load was a coloured wash, I washed with 2 tablets on 30° as recommended on the instructions.  I expected a delicate fragrance but was surprised  when the washing came out with no fragrance at all.  However, I did find that despite  the lack of fragrance , the washing smelt really clean and fresh.  My next wash was a whites wash, again on a 30° with 2 tablets.  The whites came out much brighter than they would with my usual powder, however one of the shirts did not smell fresh on a low temperature wash, when I put it back in on a higher temperature it came out smelling clean.

I was concerned that the lack of fragrance would mean that the nappies  would smell. The nappy wash at 60° was the most impressive of all.  The nappies came out much softer than they would with my usual powder (fabric softener is not recommended when washing nappies as it reduces the absorbency) and they were clean and smelt really fresh.  By the 3rd wash the lack of fragrance was really growing on me, the freshness is much nicer than an artificial fragrance.  But most impressive of all were some heavily soiled baby clothes that I included in the wash.

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Though there was a slight trace of the stain it was barely noticeable. The washing was tumble dried and had they been line dried I am certain that even this faint staining would have been removed by the sun.

I am looking forward to using the rest of my supply and who knows I may even be converted long term.  With Netmums current special offer of buy 6 packs get £7 off,  the tablets are cheaper than my current own brand powder and at the usual price of £2.89 for 30 tablets are still excellent value.

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I am paid an expenses fee to cover my time (and childcare if the fee is big enough!) but Netmums have no editorial control whatsoever about what I blog about. Being a member of the Netmums Blogging Network means that I get to try out products and brands and get my expenses covered but that I retain full editorial integrity

Room by Emma Donoghue

I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time and had kept it aside to read in one sitting.  I was not disappointed.

The story is told from the perspective of a 5 year old boy who has been locked in a room with his mother from birth and is unaware that there is an outside world.  Sounds depressing ?  Oddly it isn’t. The child’s voice makes the whole experience both fascinating and endearing.  Inanimate objects are his friends,  hence he refers to ‘rug’,’wardrobe’ and ‘bed’ and anything that he sees on the television is seen to live only in the t.v.  As the story unfolds his mother explains to him about the outside world and we live through his bewilderment and  attachment to both his mother and the place he knows as home.

The Middle section of the book is  gripping  and fast paced , real edge of your seat stuff.

The final 2 sections describe beautifully the child’s uncertainty in a big new world and his observations of the futility  of modern consumerism .   It made me consider what is really important to children..  They don’t need ‘things’ or to be taken to lots of places what ultimately matters is security , love , and routine.

It is a wonderful thought provoking read and I can’t recommend it highly enough.