My boys love their Wii, me too, and lucky for us we were given an advance copy of the Jump Start Escape from Adventure Island game for review. I have reviewed other Jump Start games and I was really excited for Oscar and Benji to try this one out. Unlike the first Jump Start Wii release, Pet Rescue - which was directed at age 3-5, Escape from Adventure Island is targeted for age 5-9. This game is designed to encourage math, reading and critical thinking skills. Oscar has easily mastered all of the levels on the Pet Rescue game and I have been looking forward to a new game that is a bit more challenging for him.
I loved the concept behind this game! It reminds me of any other adventure game, kind of like Super Mario Galaxy, which the boys love. Escape from Adventure Island begins with your little explorer and Frankie crash landing their blimp on Adventure Island. The blimp is broken and in order to complete the game the player needs to collect white sand dollars through completing the game missions. The white sand dollars are then traded for helium tanks that are needed to fix the blimp. While on Adventure Island the player will also complete gold challenges to earn gold sand dollars, which can be traded for new clothes and new parts for the players house. You can still expect to play with the familiar Jumpee's and choose your Jumpee clothing, just like in the online Jump Start and the Pet Rescue games. There are also Punk Punks running around, similar to Mario's Goomba's, that are there to distract you. One of Oscar's favorite parts of the game is stomping on the Punk Punks.
Benji, who is only 4.5, did find this game to be a bit challenging. He mostly played changing his Jumpee's clothes. For now I think that he is probably better off playing Pet Rescue. However, Benji does enjoy watching Oscar, who is 6, play. Oscar did pretty well. Some of the math is a bit challenging but Oscar is a pretty fast learner. I liked watching him play because I got to see first hand how he copes with solving difficult problems. As well as get a feel for where he is in learning some more advanced skills. With a little guidance he was cruising through some of the first levels and really had a wonderful time. Below is a screenshot of one of the math levels that Oscar found really fun.
There are two different modes that the player can choose, Story Mode and Practice Mode. In Story Mode your job is to help Frankie fix the crashed blimp by playing different games and unlocking new clothing and house parts. In Practice Mode you can practice all of the educational games and improve your learning skills. Oscar prefers Story Mode when he is playing. He gets so excited every time he earns a new helium tank! He also really enjoys collecting all of the sand dollars by completing all the new levels. Each level doesn't take a huge amount of time to complete but he is extremely satisfied with himself after he earns his sand dollars. For those that have little boys you know that completing levels means EVERYTHING. I hear my boys making up levels for random every day things, like racing up the stairs, little boys = obsessed with levels.
The two main hubs in the game are The Island Hub and the Scuba Hub. The Island Hub games all take place on land and the Scuba Hub the games all take place in the water. Oscar's favorite hub is the Island Hub. He found the Scuba Hub a bit difficult to navigate with the Wii controller. He had a hard time getting his Jumpee to get where he needed to go. It only happened a few times and on one level in particular. I tried to help him out but I suck at navigating video games so I was really no help. I know that he will get better at it as long as he sticks to it. Oscar has a tendency to want to give up if he can't figure it out within the first few tries. Something we have in common....
Here are a couple of different videos ( sorry about the picture quality ) of Oscar playing some of his favorite levels. He was so busy playing that he wouldn't turn around to answer a couple of questions that I asked him so he sounds a little muffled. Basically, he is having way too much fun to listen to what his mom has to say right now.
Oscar has a great time playing Escape from Adventure Island. I think that this game is a wonderful addition to the Jump Start family of games. With over 150 learning games all packaged in an engaging play world its hard for kids not to have fun while learning. Oscar played for two hours straight the first day that I introduced it to him. He was so excited about each level that he completed he just had to keep playing. He played equally as long the second time that he played the game too.
Jump Start Escape from Adventure Island will be available at major retailers nationwide on November 17th for $29.99. The ESRB has rated it "E" for Everyone. For additional info about this game you can check out the Jump Start.com.
*Jump Start has provided me with an advance copy for the sole purpose of reviewing Escape from Adventure Island and providing my honest opinion of the game with my readers*