It's the first of it's kind-being the first educational gaming software for the Wii in the 3-6 year age range. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gave the game a rating of "Early Childhood". I was so pleased to hear this. It's nice to know that the game is not above them developmentally. I was also pleased to hear that Jumpstart had come out with a game designed for the Wii. My kids love to play games on their Wii. So, I was thrilled when Jumpstart sent us Pet Rescue for review.
JumpStart Pet Rescue contains 5 Discovery worlds where Preschoolers navigate through 5 stories in a search for lost pets.
Each Discovery world contains a guided story told by one of the JumpStart friends, leading children on a learning adventure through more than 70 learning lessons and activities that teach kids over 75 essential skills they need to succeed. As kids progress through the adventures, they improve their pre-reading skills, memory, creativity, motor skills, listening,
and much more!
As before, my "shameless plug" will give you the low down on three aspects: Ease of Use, Fun Factor, and Educational Content.
Ease of Use
Navigating the Jumpstart Pet Rescue is similar to the online virtual world. There are 5 worlds and each includes it's own set of games, activities and special features. Each child creates their own player, and as with online, can change their hair, facial features, and clothes. I will say that my kids had a distinct advantage having played online. They knew how to navigate from land to land with ease. If you didn't already know, it might take a few minutes to get a "lay of the land" as it were. It's not difficult, but sometimes my kids don't understand that the remote on the Wii needs to face the TV (really the sensor). We practice this a lot and I am always reminding them. Young kids can get a little impatient when it comes to learning a new game as well. I think it's important to take the time at the very beginning, sit with them and walk them through it. This will cut down on the frustrations later on.
What's not to love about pets, right? I think Jumpstart was very smart in the concept design of this game. There are very few young children that don't love animals and the thought of rescuing any animal excited my daughter especially. Of particular interest to my daughter was the "pet adoption" center where she could choose a from a variety of pets, name it, and then it comes along with you on all your adventures! You can also "play with them" (as shown below) and "feed them". Also with 5 worlds, it seemed there was always a game or activity that hadn't been discovered yet.
As with thier online virtual world, the educational content in Jumpstart Pet Rescue is woven into the games and activities. The kids have fun while they learn! What parnet doesn't love that? Of particular interest to me was the magic tent where the bunny has three magic hats and you can choose which numbers you want to work on (ahem, play...). When you choose a particular card, the games focus on that concept. It was educational and easy to navigate for my daughter. She loved it. Learning in the early years should never feel like "work". Their attention spans are so limited, that you need to keep it active and infuse a little fun into it. Jumpstart Pet Rescue does not disappoint in this area. What's more, they are rewarded with storybooks for completing activities. These stories are then read aloud to them. So cool.
Some additional thoughts:
At $39.99, the price point on this game seemed a little steep to me. I would think twice before purchasing this game if it were the only game I was purchasing. I would much rather see it at $29.99 or even $24.99. That being said, I don't know how they come up with their pricing so I may be way undervaluing this product.
UPDATE: Just got word that Jumpstart/Knowledge Adventure lowered the price to $29.99
If you would like to purchase the Jumpstart Pet Rescue for the Nintendo Wii, head to the Pet Rescue page to find a reatiler near you. It's available in stores and online. You can also head there to view a trailer and find out more about this great game.