Remember when I jumped on the chance to review the new JumpStart game for the Wii, Pet Rescue, a while back, only to realize that it was too young for my kids? Well, I was just as quick to jump this time when the folks at JumpStart offered me the opportunity to review their newest — and second — game for the Wii, for ages 5-9, Escape from Adventure Island.
Escape from Adventure Island is filled with worlds to explore both on land and under the sea as players — or explorers — race to collect the items they’ll need to repair their blimp and escape from Adventure Island where they’ve crashed landed. As they play, kids will unlock new worlds and discover new adventures, while practicing over 150 learning skills, including:
- Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
- Odds and evens
- Telling Time
- Parts of Speech
- Sentence order…and much more!
If you’ve played JumpStart’s online game, the set-up of Escape from Adventure Island is going to look very familiar to you. In addition to the familiar Jumpeez — which can be customized just like they can in the online game — you’ll find those annoying Punk Punks, as well as some of your favorite JumpStart friends to guide you through your journey on Adventure Island.
My kids both loved this game! I was a little worried that they wouldn’t after determining that Pet Rescue was too young for them. I thought they might be too accustomed to the sports, music, and action-adventure games that they’re used to playing on the Wii to really enjoy an educational game. However, they jumped at the chance to play as soon as the game was delivered to our door (which may have been partially due to the fact that they had been grounded from TV and video games, but I was willing to let them off the hook for Escape from Adventure Island since I was supposed to review it). After playing for an hour or so, they both announced that it was a fun game.
Megan’s favorite part is the underwater world. She loves sliding down the giant slide to get to the underwater adventure (I admit — that slide does look like fun!). Once there, her favorite thing to do is Pearl Push, in which you use the Wii Remote and the Nunchuck to push giant pearls back to their oysters. She can also be encouraged to visit Manta Ray, where she can swim around practicing her math skills and avoiding mines.
Believe it or not, Josh claims that Jet Pack is his favorite area of the game. That’s the area where the explorer zooms through a cave, flying through correct answers and zapping the incorrect ones while practicing his reading skills. Yes, you read that right. My son’s favorite part is one of the educational areas. Please don’t tell him that, though. Maybe he hasn’t noticed yet.
One of my favorite things about Escape from Adventure Island is that players lose jet packs or air tanks, not lives. I don’t have to hear about anybody “dying” or “killing” anybody else. All I hear is how you have to be careful that you don’t lose your jet pack. Much nicer.
We all struggled with some difficulty in steering with Wii Remotes, especially in the Manta Ray and Jet Pack areas. You’re supposed to hold the Wii Remote horizontally, in both hands, rather than vertically, in one hand, which is more typical. It was frustrating, but certainly not insurmountable. There was also a rather noticeable lag time loading screens, which we noticed with Pet Rescue, as well. It wasn’t awful, just noticeable.
My only other gripe would be that my kids, even when they play the learning games, tend to stay on the lower, easier levels. I’d like to see some parental controls that would make kids have to play on their level, at a minimum, rather than below their level. Still, practice is practice, I suppose.
JumpStart’s Escape from Adventure Island, rated “E” for everyone, will be available at major retailers everywhere on November 17, 2009.
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. Actual results may vary.