Just before we left for vacation, I got an email from the folks at JumpStart asking if we’d like to review their brand-new game for the Wii. A free, brand-new-to-the-market Wii game to play? You betcha!
JumpStart Pet Rescue, with an ESRB rating of “early childhood,” is the first educational game created for the Wii for children ages 3-6. Yeah, I didn’t catch that “ages 3-6” part, at first. All I knew was that whenever my kids played JumpStart online, they were seeing that Pet Rescue was coming out soon and they were anxiously awaiting its release date. So, we were a little disappointed when the kids started playing and quickly realized it was too young for them.
Not to be deterred, though, we enlisted the help of some friends who had the two key elements — a Wii game system and kids in the target age range. Never let it be said that I’m unwilling to share the love.
The first set of friends had mixed opinions. Their boy who is in the right age range is used to playing more “big kid” games with his older brothers, so Pet Rescue did not hold his attention and his younger nephew (yeah, he’s got a nephew just a couple of years younger than him…how cool is that?), age 3, couldn’t quite get the hang of it. Big sister, although too old to get much educational value from the game, really enjoyed playing.
The second family with whom we shared the game has two children in the 3-6 age range. Although they had a bit of trouble figuring out how to play the game at first, big brother saved the day and got them started. Both girls, ages 3 and 6, found the navigation of the game to be a bit frustrating. Both are used to using the Wii-mote, so the frustration was with the general navigation of the game itself. They also said that there was a long lag time when moving from one “land” to another, which was something my kids mentioned as well.
Overall, though, the girls enjoyed the game, which looks and plays very much like JumpStart’s online game. During game play, kids search for lost pets in five different lands as they build skills in pre-reading, gross and fine motor, listening and memory. In each land, or Discovery World, preschoolers will find a JumpStart friend to read a guided story.
Chloe, age 6, who really enjoys the game now, says that her favorite part is Petland, where players bathe, dress up, feed, and play with the animals. Jaida, 3, who is getting the hang of navigating the game and only needs occasional help these days, says her favorite part is in the neighborhood where she can watch videos of kids singing songs.
Family #2 enjoyed the variety — even older brother, Ethan, enjoyed riding zip-line in the jungle and completing the various levels of the game in order to unlock new lands in which to play. They rated the educational content very good, giving it an 8 out of 10, with the overall function of the game earning a 5.5 out of 10.
If you’re eager to give JumpStart Pet Rescue a try for yourself — or get started on your Christmas shopping for your favorite preschooler — you can find it at Walmart, Toy R Us, Best Buy, Fry’s, and other retail stores for $39.99.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience and actual results may vary.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.