Story Hour Adventures: Family Gamers Summer 2009 Best Game for Pre-Schoolers
Story Hour Adventures for Wii for kids ages 2-4
Each season, Family Gamer lists
its best games for family members of all ages. This week, we bring you
their favorite game for pre-schoolers - Story Hour Adventures for Wii! So Auntie, if you're having trouble choosing the right game for your niece and nephew, Paul Govan, dad gamer, is here to help.
Following on from Cosmic Family Wii's point and click story telling, Zoo Digital bring us Story Hour Adventures. Although simpler and less interaction than other Wii games for the very young, these bedtime stories provide a welcome change by focusing on quality story telling rather than action.
What Sort of Game is This?
Adventure games are enjoyed for two reasons: they provide enemy encounters that require tactics and strategy to conquer, and they create a fantasy world in which to explore and adventure.
What Does This Game Add to the Genre?
Although this may be seen as a loose collection of minigames, the focus here is on the adventure experience created by quality story telling and classic tales. The player watches a story being read, depicted on screen with real pages and text, while voiced by some happily straightforward reading.
This collection provides four stories each with an adventure theme, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin, Paul Bunyan and The Three Brothers. Each has a unique art style and voice actor that gives them their own story book feel.
Players can choose to simply watch through each story, which takes around twenty minutes, or turn pages themselves and perform actions as certain points to progress. These range from pointing Wii-mote acativities to shaking and twisting the controller or even choosing a particular path for the story to take.
There is no way to choose the starting page for each story if you should want to resume, and the page turning will be a little fiddly for younger novice players. Apart from this the game is well designed and clearly presented.
What do People Play this Game To Experience?
Players will be attracted to the action sequences depicted on the box cover and in game title screens. However our kids found that it was the slower pace of the stories that kept them coming back for a more relaxing activity that their usual play sessions. Something about having these well known tales on the console gave them added appeal. It was great to see them all huddled up on the sofa as the stories unfolded.
How Much Free Time is Required to Play It?
Each story takes around twenty minutes and is split into two chapters. If you opt to do your own page turning and interactions this will be extended towards thirty minutes.
What Factors Impact on Suitability for Novice/Expert Young/Old Players?
Young players will find the high production values and quality voice work as appealing as Jackanory or other storytelling programs.Although the novelty of reading a story on the Wii will fade, initially this is a great way to encourage some more cerebral screen time.
Players looking for a more fairy tale experience should try the sister title Story Hour Fairy Tales Wii.
Older or more experienced players will want more interaction from their game than is on offer here. For them it will be the fully immersive Legend of Zelda The Twighlight Process Wii experiences that float their boat.
Thanks for reading the review, visit our Family Gaming Awards - the best games for the different people in your family.