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THE RED PLANET

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill & Lela


This little game has a very special feature: it's personalized, by name and hometown, for your young child or grandchild. Created by a British company, and appropriately called 'MYCD', the idea is to capture your child's imagination and stimulate a desire to read by making him or her (and 2 friends or siblings) an integral part of the story. And they even include a personal message from you at the beginning, thereby increasing the child's feeling that the story really is about them.

The story itself is based on the same game of 'Let's Pretend' that children always play, only this time they can actually see it unfold before their eyes, and interact with it. As the game begins, your child and his or her 2 friends have decided to play 'Space Men' in the backyard, to build an imaginary rocketship and go to the moon. So they do ..... and soon the rocket takes off with them inside.

But, oh my! They are tooling along in space, enjoying looking at everything, when all of a sudden two of their engines fail, and they are forced to crash land on a barren red planet. Where in the world will they get the tools and spare parts that they need to fix their rocket, or find the fuel they need to get home?

Happily, a friendly little blue alien soon appears. He takes them to a hidden cavern in a rock where, to the children's delight, they discover others just like him. And they are all working on fixing old space ships! They have the parts and the expertise, and they are happy to help. So it isn't long before the children are on their way home again ..... with yet another fantastic story to tell.

This is a very short and easy, point & click game that has obviously been designed for preschoolers and perhaps early elementary kids. It is set up somewhat like the 'Living Books' game series, with a page of text that tells a little of the story followed by an interactive picture that illustrates it, and you have a choice of 3 different reading levels for the text. The interface is easy to use, self-explanatory, and the game can either be installed or played directly from the CD.

Several things in each picture can be clicked on for movement and/or weird sounds, and the cursor arrow becomes a hand on hot spots. A certain series of actions or clicks will result in the story being automatically advanced to the next screen, but there are also icons at the bottom of the page which you can click on to go forward or back a screen manually, if desired.

The graphics are bright and cheerful, and the music is happy ('Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', etc). And the little blue aliens are absolutely adorable, with big blue eyes and with trumpet-like horns that play music growing out of their heads. They talk indecipherable nonsense in high chirpy voices, will follow the cursor with their heads, and even giggle when you tickle them by passing the cursor over them!

It's a fun little game, made more so by the use of the kids own names in the story. And to increase playing time and replayability, several arcade-style games have also been included: a coloring book, some slider puzzles, a memory matching game, and even the old 'Invaders' game.

We do wish that they had included a 'Read To Me' option for the text, or at least the pronunciation of individually clicked on words, to help those children who are just learning to read. But with your help on reading the text when they need it, they should nevertheless love being the 'star' on their very own personal CD.


Full View Screenshot

Developed (2002) by MYCD Ltd and distributed by RWR Innovations in the United States and Canada.

Minimum System Requirements:  Windows

Where To Buy This Game:


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