Monday, May 4, 2009

Find Teddy! Review


Move along hardcore gamers, nothing to see here. Wait wait wait come back!! If you've been gaming for awhile, you may very well have some kiddies at home squirming around on the carpet and tugging on your headset. And if you're anything like me, you fully plan on teaching your offspring the ways of gaming. (start 'em young right?)

Well, welcome aboard kiddos, Find Teddy is here. This game targets younger children, and you'll probably need to help them get started. If you can be a little less selfish with the controller, you should consider handing it over to the little nuggets for a turn with this one. See the end of this review for helpful arguments on why this makes a TON of sense.

The gameplay in Find Teddy is appropriately simple and has a learning quality to it. For some of you, this may even be a bit reminiscent of the games you used to find in magazines and books when you were a child. (Highlights 4 life, yo) You are given some visual clues and a grid full of colorful Teddies. The clues help you narrow in the correct Teddy according to their outfits, and then it's as simple as making your guess. (see screenshot) As you/your child get better at this, you can move up in difficulty levels and further hone your detective skills.

I really like the presentation here in Find Teddy. It's big, colorful, simple, fun and uses the lovable, gender-friendly, classic teddy bear - all good design decisions. There's even a feature similar to build-a-bear where you can use the outfit items to customize your own bear, which is a great touch. The controls are usually on screen so that children always have a reference.

On my wish list I would put 'effects.' Kids are in sensory overload these days with the new breed of TV shows and to keep pace, I believe this game could have benefited with some attention to graphical effects and maybe some higher-end animation. Maybe some flashy fireworks when the right Teddy is chosen, or they do a funny dance to a hip-hop beat, etc. Maybe wrong choices pop the balloons that are on screen - you see where I am going. There are some basic animations along these lines, but my humble opinion is that more is almost always better when trying to maintain a child's short attention span. More visual reward/penalty cues to make the little ones giggle. :)

I'd also say this game could benefit from a 200 MP price point, as it currently sits at 400 MP which unfortunately isn't competitive (right now) for a game of this nature. With a simple premise/mechanic at the heart of this one, it might gain more traction at the lower price point.

Find Teddy, accomplishes what it sets out to do, and does it well - which gets big points in my book. As promised, here's some other arguments you may want to employ if you are facing a certain resistance to gaming in your household:

1. Find Teddy is educational. It's also a video game. Win/win.
2. It's a bonding experience with your mini-you and quality family time.
3. It's budget friendly and cheaper than another Pixar DVD.
4. "You take the garbage out, I am busy educating our child."

Don't use the last one.

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