The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

Fossil Fighters Nintendo DS Game

fossil-fightersI wanted to get my son’s thoughts on this game for nearly 2 weeks now but he’s been so busy playing it, I haven’t been able to get a good overview from him until now. I shouldn’t be surprised. It combines his favorite thing in the world, dinosaurs, with something he does every day with his sister… fighting.

Fossil Fighters is a new game for the DS where you can pretty much guess what it entails from the title. You play a boy (what? no girls?) who comes to an island to hunt for fossils which will turn into battle-ready dinosaurs, ready to tear your opponents dinos apart. Well, its not quite that exciting, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The gameplay consists of 4 main elements: the story, hunting for fossils, cleaning the fossils, and fighting. The story helps move things along and does a good job of introducing the other parts of the game as you come to them. New areas of the game open up as you progress allow you to explore and find new fossils. The fossil finding is dead simple. You have a radar that tells you where they are around you and you dig them up. The excitement is in finding new fossils that give you a new dinosaur makes existing ones more powerful.

My favorite part of the game is the cleaning. If you have kids who have always wanted to be paleontologists or archeologists, they’d love this. You have to chip away at the rock using a hammer and drill to uncover the bone within. The challenge is you must do this without damaging the fossil as well as complete the task within a set time limit. The less damage you do to the fossil, the more powerful your resulting dinosaur will be. This can be both rewarding and frustrating. Some rocks already have parts of the fossil showing, so you must be more careful in those areas. Some rocks resemble swiss cheese making the cleaning process feel like surgery. The DS is perfect for this task with the touchscreen. To top it off, your drill creates dust making it difficult to see what you’re doing so you blow on your DS to remove the dust making it great fun.

That brings us to the fighting. Battles crop up in many different ways, but most are when you dig something up and another fighter pops out of nowhere claiming it to be theirs. You break out your pack of dinos and take turns unleashing a variety of moves. There is actually a good amount of strategy involved as different types of dinos are strong or weak against other types. This affects which ones you bring with you to battle (you can only choose 3). Also, one of these does the main fighting at a time while the others serve supporting roles. If you win, your dinos get a little stronger. If you lose, you don’t lose your fossils or any similar dire consequences with lowers the frustration factor for kids. You simple end up back in town and you try the same thing again.

The downside of this game is that for being named after fighting, the fighting doesn’t seem to be the best part. The fights are repetitive and very easy for most of the game. It’s fun to try out new dinosaurs when you get them, but it’s the same routine over and over. Many times, the fighting gets in the way of the fun, which is a shame. The good thing is that the rest of the game is quite satisfying and its certainly not a game they will finish in a few days. There’s plenty of entertainment for the kids in this one.

Suggested Retail Price: $29.99

Website for More Details: Fossil Fighters Nintendo DS Game

Giveaway Results: Animal Planet Emergency Vets DS Game

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Thank you all for entering our contest.  We chose our winner randomly and would like to congratulate Commenter #57 (Oona B.) on winning this prize pack. Please check back each Tuesday for a brand new giveaway and thank you all for entering.

Today we have a great giveaway for a new DS game for kids called, “Animal Planet Emergency Vets” for the Nintendo DS. Kids who love animals and dream of becoming veterinarians now have a new, interactive way to play pretend.  Animal Planet, known as the authority on “all things animal” has partnered with Activision to create “Emergency Vets” for Nintendo DS!

Based on the popular Animal Planet series “Emergency Vets,” kids can play as an up-and-coming veterinarian that helps the other vets at the Alameda East Hospital perform veterinary procedures on a variety of different animals, like teeth cleaning, medicating and operating with the Nintendo DS stylus.  After performing successful procedures, players will have the opportunity to interact with each animal and see their reactions.

This game is rated “E” for everyone and retails for $29.99.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment and tell me what your child says he/she wants to be when they grow up (and it is totally okay if it is not a veterinarian). Leave your comments by Tuesday (04/28) at 8PM EST to be entered to win. Only entries that follow the rules for entering will qualify to win.

Hello Kitty Big City Dreams Nintendo DS Game

hello-kittyFor this review, I passed the torch on to a family of  some of my very favorite little girls, The Wegner Family! My daughter was a little too young for this product, but I always know I can count on my friend Michelle to help me in my time of need. To learn more about their family, please visit Michelle Wegner! A big thank you to Whitney & Maddie for helping us and sharing her perspective on this product.

For this review, both Maddie (10) and Whitney (8) helped out.  They both enjoy this game, so here’s what the experts have to say about it:

Tell Me about the Hello Kitty game.

Maddie: The game is pretty fun. It is fun because you get to play games and make friendship points (money) so you can buy stuff like clothes or a new room. You are Hello Kitty. So, when you play it Hello Kitty is the one who is walking around for you.

Whitney:  You can do lots of activities and you get to gets lots of friendship points by clicking on certain people.

What are the activities like?

Whitney: There are lots of activities.  There is a drawing pad where you get lots of friendship points.

Maddie: The camera snap one is very fun, it is hard though.  You go around on a boat and try to take pictures of animals.

Whitney: The best part of the camera snap game is that a duck follows you around and you can take lots of pictures of him, but sometimes he goes away.

What is your favorite activity in Hello Kitty?

Maddie: Jump rope

Whitney: Jump rope

Sounds like jump rope is the winner.  Why is it so fun?

Maddie: Because it’s easy.

Whitney: It’s easy because you keep on clicking the jump rope, then once you reach your goal, you get friendship points.  My highest is 53.

What don’t you like about the game?

Maddie: It’s kind of tricky at times. It’s sorta hard to figure out what to do.  I get stuck a lot.

Whitney: If you hit “save game” in the middle of a game, they won’t save the friendship points, the room you are in, or the design.  That’s pretty much it.

How old would you say you should be to play this game?

Maddie: 7-10

Whitney: 7-10  It would be too hard for a 6 year old, and it would be too “kid-ish” for an 11 year old.

Suggested Retail Price: $27.99

Website for More Details: Hello Kitty Big City Dreams Nintendo DS Game

Bratz Ponyz 2 Nintendo DS Game

For this review, I passed the torch on to a family of  some of my very favorite little girls, The Wegner Family! My daughter was a little too young for this product, but I always know I can count on my friend Michelle to help me in my time of need. To learn more about their family, please visit Michelle Wegner! A big thank you to Maddie for helping us and sharing her perspective on this product.

bratz-ponyz-2My daughter Maddie got her one Christmas wish this year-A Nintendo DS.  One of the games she received was Bratz/Ponyz 2.  Read what a 10 year old has to say about the game.

Tell me the main idea of the game.

The player is the Pony, and the idea is to get the pony to collect hearts (points) and to finish all the game agendas by completing the games.

How many games are there to complete?

You have to play the same games over and over to complete the agenda.  There are some games that change every other time.

What do you like about this game?

Sometimes when you complete a level, you can earn another island, which means you get on a ship or hot air balloon and fly or sail to the new place.

So…what do Bratz or Ponyz have to do with the game?

Bratz is just the name brand.  There are no Bratz in the game (My Mom doesn’t like us to play with Bratz dolls).  The ponyz look like regular little ponies, but they are all different colors.

What don’t you like about the game?

You have to repeat the games over and over again and sometimes they get a little boring.

You are 10.  Do you think this is a good game for someone your age?

It depends on what their personality is.  If they were a tomboy, I wouldn’t recommend it.  If they were a girly-girl, I would recommend it.

Is there anything else you would like to say about Bratz Ponyz?

You can put make-up on your pony, put glitter or highlights in their hair, pick out their shoes, and change the background.

Out of 5 stars, how many stars would you give this game?

3 and a half.

Suggested Retail Price: $22.99

Website for More Details: Bratz Ponyz 2

Giveaway: Four Nintendo DS Games!

Congratulations to Betty (Commenter #299) on winning our Nintendo DS games giveaway. Betty said, ” My favorite game to relax after a long day is bejeweled but with the kids it’s Uno, hands down.”  Thank you to everyone who entered and we look forward to offering contests to our readers regularly and sharing our loot with you. As a frugal gal, I know what a treat it is and that is why giveaways will always be a priority here!

If you have a Nintendo DS in your possession or are planning to give a Nintendo DS away for a holiday gift, I have the ultimate giveaway for you. Today I am giving away FOUR Nintendo DS games to complete your gaming collection. Yup, you read that right- FOUR games.

Here is some information about each of the games:

Build-A-Bear is a Nintendo DS simulation that recreates the in-store experience. Gameplay offers a unique immersive experience, which replicates the process of shopping and creating a Bear when entering a Build-A-Bear Workshop store. The game allows you to approach the Build-A-Bear Workshop concept with the same hands-on and do it yourself formula. This level of interactivity is achieved through the use of the touch screen, wireless technology, enhanced graphics and innovative control mechanism. Choose, create and customize your own personal virtual Bear and participate in various activities with your new furry friend.

Based on the classic “Rubik’s Cube” puzzle of the 80′s, this other worldly game will look like and play like no other game out there. Rubik’s World is a collection of extremely addictive, easy to pick up puzzle games that increase in difficulty as the player delves deeper in this brave new world. But, these games are not mere mini-games, but serious puzzlers and brain teasers, offering the player an immersive experience whether it be for a few minutes or a few hours.

Relax by playing puzzle games inspired by the movements of the tide, rippling water, riffs and corals, beach vegetation and sea life. Zenses Ocean is an indulgent, soothing experience with high quality visuals and ambient sounds inspired by the natural sounds of the sea. Subliminal addictive puzzles such as Hot Spot, Shell Twirl, Turtle Turn, Pearl Diver and Wave Breaker were created to give you an escape from the stress of every day life.

Explore the Amazon while playing games infused with rain drops, exotic flowers, waterfalls and giant trees. Zenses Rainforest encourages you to recharge your batteries while playing puzzle games such as Sapphire Wheel, Mirror Maze, Stack Jack and Bumble Breaker.

To enter this contest, tell me your favorite game to play. It can be a DS game, board game, online game, anything that is entertaining to you! Leave your comment by 11/11 (Tuesday) at 8PM (Eastern time) and we will enter your name into the drawing. Thanks so much for entering & good luck to each of you!

Kirby Super Star Ultra

Up on the block this time is another great Nintendo DS game for kids called Kirby Super Star Ultra. Yeah, I think it needs some more adjectives on the end of it too, but I digress. This is actually an old game that’s been made new again with some new things thrown in just for the DS. The game is pretty straightforward. You’re this pink ball with red shoes that can jump and fly. That’s not very exciting, but there’s one more thing you can do that makes this game so interesting.

You see, Kirby has some serious lung power because he can suck up various creatures in his way and assume whatever special powers they have. That’s where the real action lies. Kirby can go from an unassuming huggable balloon to a sword-wielding, fire blowing, yo-yo throwing beast of destruction.

To make things even more fun, you can spit that creature back out. When you do, they’ve apparently had a change of heart while hanging out inside Kirby because they now follow you and help you out on your adventures. This is a great thing for beginners or younger kids because they can always have a little helper tagging along to make things a little easier on them.

And easy this game is. It’s not one long challenge that takes a 20-hour-straight marathon to complete. Instead, it takes a much more approachable path by splitting the game into 6 different adventures. The first is a gentle intro to help you learn the controls that can be finished in about 10 minutes. From there on, the difficultly and length of the games ramp up. There’s several unrelated mini-games that are mixed in for variety where you compete against yourself to continue to improve your best score.

From a parent’s point of view, this is a great game. All the characters are more cute than scary. There’s no graphic violence and the controls are pretty straightforward, though younger ones may need some help at first. If you have more than one DS, you can even join in and team up with them.

After daddy gave the game a test drive we handed it to our 6-year-old for his opinion before we wrote a review. That was over a week ago and we’ve been unable to tear him away from it since. He declared yesterday “this is my favorite game EVER“. That’s pretty impressive for a kid who’s the product of two gamer parents and has 7 video game systems at his disposal. Kids these days!

Suggested Retail Price: $29.99

Website For More Details: Kirby Super Star Ultra

Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir

Loved those “find the hidden objects” puzzles in Highlights magazine as a kid and want to introduce your own spawn to the glee of finding a needle in a haystack? Well hold onto your hat because we’ve got just the game to do it. Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir is a new game for the Nintendo DS that takes this concept and wraps it in a new package for today’s generation.

Million Heir’s story is simple, a rich guy has gone missing and it’s up to you to solve the mystery. Make no mistake, this is no Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew conspiracy that requires keen interrogation skills or psychic -like intuition to solve. All you need is a keen eye because you’ll be hunting the most irrelevant clues you’ve ever come across. Seriously, the hidden objects that you must find to unravel the clues have nothing to do with anything. Found that scalloped shell and bowling pin in the tool shed? Great! Now go find an alien in the garden (no, the alien isn’t even a suspect). That said, the nonsensical clues aren’t really the point. Hunting down these camouflaged objects is what it’s all about.

Maybe your kids will get a hold of this and think, hey, I’m tired of using my eyes, I’ll just click around randomly like I’m having a caffeine seizure and beat this silly little game! That might work for a while, but the game introduces a good mix of tools that you’ll have to use in later stages to find the clues such as flashlights for the dark and a super straw for blowing out fires. There’s also a healthy mix of puzzles and amusing mini-games to break up the repetitiveness.

Even though you visit each stage more than once, the items you have to find are different each time. Since there are dozens and dozens of hidden objects, but you only need find the handful on your list, you’ll find yourself taking mental notes that the knight is wielding a hammer for some odd reason for the next time you return. In addition, there is a good sense of humor mixed into the scenes that your kids might not catch but will certainly make us older folk giggle.

Despite the fact the game can be completed by a determined spy in a couple of evenings and the objects are always in the same place, the sheer number of things to find are plentiful enough to keep your kids coming back for more than once. The art is great and the mood music is exceptional, making it a treat for the senses. A wide range of ages would enjoy this game, though I would recommend being available when they’re struggling to understand what a halberd or obelisk even is, much less where it is hidden.

The game is available for just under $20 bucks. If your kids enjoy this series, there’s a number of previous Mystery Case File games that can be played on the computer.

Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

Website for More Details: Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir

Animal Paradise for Nintendo DS

Is your little princess demanding a pony? Are the kids going on a hunger strike until you buy them their own circus elephant? Well, you and I both know that’s never going to happen. However, you might want to pacify their rioting with a much less expensive and smelly alternative, Animal Paradise for the Nintendo DS.

The game is simple. You have to care for a pet by doing many of the things you’d have to do in real life: feed them, walk them, pet them, give them a bath, etc. By doing so, you increase the animal’s affection towards you. As their love goes up, you’ll earn ridiculously cute photos of the animal and unlock new animals to play with.

There’s 18 animals in all and range from a variety of cats and dogs to some more interesting choices like a chicken, squirrel, miniature pig, and Jangalian hamster. Your kids will need to keep up with each animal, which is a great way to introduce them to the responsibilities of owning a pet. The controls are extremely easy with the DS touch screen. If you need to pet a dog for example, you just scratch the screen. They animal will react to whatever you’re doing, so it’s great positive feedback for the kids. There are also several “mini-games” to break up the action and serves as a nice way of sharpening their puzzle solving skills.

Unfortunately, that’s about it. Once you unlock all the animals and photos, the game doesn’t offer much more past that point. You can continue maintaining the animal’s undying affection towards you, but there’s nothing new to satisfy you beyond that.

This is a really good game for young kids and our 6-year-old was over the moon about it. Appropriately, it’s recommended for kids 3 and up. The game will be available on September 23rd for just under $20.

Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

Website For More Details: Animal Paradise