Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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Review: JumpStart Pet Rescue for Wii (Rated Early Childhood)

The selection of console games with an Early Childhood rating is so small that I am actually using the word "selection" loosely. I have to commend JumpStart, a well-respected source of both online and boxed PC learning games, for bringing us the much-needed Pet Rescue for Wii.

Early Childhood rated games are suitable for children as young as the age of 3. That is perfect for us since our "3 Garnets" just turned 3, 3, and 6. Although the twins are not as tech-savvy as their older brother, they thoroughly enjoy watching him play this game, especially since their big brother is nice enough to make special characters for his little brother and sister. Plus he also lets them choose which pets he should adopt.

Here is a character that our 6yr old made for his little sister. He also let her choose a pet to adopt. This part of the game falls right in line with the popular trend of virtual pets and it is the part our children seem to enjoy the most. I think it is great that JumpStart was able to create a game in which younger children can experience owning a virtual pet. Many other console or online games are meant for older children who can read and type.

The map feature is very user-friendly. Although our 6yr old can read the signs, there are images on each sign for the younger users who cannot yet read. Some of the places and attractions your child can visit are the beach, the jungle, and Petland, which is my 6yr old's favorite. There are also learning activities found in places like the library and the supermarket.

There is an area where your child can teach his or her pet to do tricks. I very much like that their is a mini practice session where your child can grow accustomed to the wrist movements required to get the pets to jump, turn, and do flips.

I would like to show you my 6yr old's favorite part of the whole game. This is where he is able to choose a pet to adopt. The player can only have one pet at a time, so he often goes back to adopt a new one. All the pets are pre-named to make it easier for younger players.

After my son adopts a pet, he immediately gives it some food and water. Not every pet likes all the available food choices, so he must use trial and error to figure out what that particular pet likes to eat. Here he learned that pandas like to eat bamboo stalks. Next he likes to take his pet to the park to play fetch. Again there are many choices of toys.

After the park, he takes his pet to be washed. He will select the shampoo and create the lather. Then he will rinse off his pet. Sometimes the game will tell my son that he did not use enough shampoo and must wash his pet again.

I have to say that the actual rescuing of lost pets and earning rewards, such as gold stars, a virtual CD, and a red apple seem to be secondary to my son for the moment. He is thoroughly enjoying exploring the main parts of town. I think that after he has seen every nook and cranny, that he will be more interested in exploring the beach and the jungle. I also want to point out that the learning activities have not been challenging to our 6yr old thus far. We have not come even close to finishing the game, so I do not know if their are more difficult activities ahead.

Here is our 6yr old training his virtual pet to do tricks . . .

Pet Resuce for Wii certainly lives up to the expectations I have for a JumpStart product. To learn more about this game, visit . You can find this game at most major retailers of Wii games, such as, Walmart, Toys R Us, GameStop, Best Buy, and BJ's Wholesale Club.

Thank you to Jumpstart for providing a copy of this game for us to experience and for us to base this review upon.