Junior Classic Games (Nintendo DS) Review

By Shane Jury 23.06.2009

Review for Junior Classic Games on Nintendo DS

Selling many a unit in its four years on the market, and enticing lots of non-gamers in the process, it is hard to imagine where the DS would be were it not for Nintendo's partnership with Dr Kawashima. Yet, despite the many clones and rip-offs a successful concept as this creates, there has not yet been a competent equivalent to Brain Training focused completely on the youngest player. Funny, then, that Avanquest Publishing have managed to tick a few of the right boxes - just not the more important ones.

Not evident from the front of the box, but pushed straight to the forefront of attention on the back, Junior Classic Games focuses on a cartoony portrayal of the animal kingdom, with more monkeys, elephants, hippos, and parrots than you can fire tranquilizer darts at. All of these creatures are used through the game in different ways, although the end result falls well short of full potential. Upon starting up the game, players will be prompted to create one of three profiles for themselves, to help keep track of the awards they can win, and high scores. Once that's done, a selection of mini-game categories is brought up - music, letter, memory, puzzle, observation and miscellaneous - with a varying number of games for each one. Each offers the player a helpful explanation of the game in question, and a choice of one to three-star difficulty levels before they start playing. The difficulty changes for each game aren't a huge step, but for challenge and replay value they are welcome.

Although there are a vast number of different games, ranging from dancing with lemurs to placing a path for kittens to follow to safety, there are a great number of identikits with altered skins. One of the more popular duplicates is ABC, where you have to fit numbers 1 - 4 in a 4x4 grid without horizontal and diagonal repetition of the same number; this concept is repeated twice more with lions and fish in a separate category. As well as repeated formulae, ABC brings up another trait of JCG; a great number of the games are just animalistic takes on regular pen and paper activities. Sudoku, Hangman (though HangMonkey would be a better name here), Wordsearch, Jenga, and even Solitaire are included - none of which, even with the nature element mixed in, are as good as the real deal. There is even a Guitar Hero clone that provides neither a good tune nor sufficient feedback results.

Screenshot for Junior Classic Games on Nintendo DS

Not helping matters is Junior Classic Games' poor effort in the visual department. Many of the menus and screens simply show a static picture of a creature and even in the games themselves, there is very little animation to speak of, except where it is critically needed. However, it is always presented clearly what you need to do in each of the activities, and there is no clutter or touch screen awkwardness to get in your way; it's just a pity that the game goes with a lazy Flash-animation look over a unique style of its own. For some of the games, audio feedback is essential, especially for those in the music category. What you get out of the DS speakers is largely function in these instances, although never anything catchy or memorable. There are some very basic background themes in other mini-games, and an incredibly annoying looping tune for the starting menu, and so little reason to waste your DS' battery life by having the volume switch set to anything above zero.

Junior Classic Game's target audience is the only demographic that will get any kind of enjoyment from it, and whatever they do get will be fairly limited. There aren't any multiplayer modes of any description here, unless you count passing the DS around to take it in turns. There is a medals system of gold, silver and bronze to consider, but there is no incentive to strive for them. Higher difficulties don't merit repeat play, as any difference is minimal, and there aren't any unlockable secrets to find. All of this adds up to a game that even the young will quickly bypass for a stronger product.

Screenshot for Junior Classic Games on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Junior Classic Games knows its target crowd, and yet does as much as it can to stuff things up for them. Youngsters will get a kick out of their first forays into popular paper games like Hangman and wordsearches, as well as the different animals on show, but there is nothing here to keep them playing beyond the initial try or two.

Developer

Uacari

Publisher

Avanquest

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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