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"If a game lacks the sensation of play, then it isn't achieving its true potential. Play is observable throughout the animal kingdom, it is the fundamental way we learn." — Gail Matthews-DeNatale
By GreatSchools Staff
In Drawn to Life on the Nintendo DS, your child illustrates the hero for a world she helps create. The game revolves around saving a village of creatures called Raposas from the evil doings of a character named Wilfre. He has torn pages from the Raposas' Book of Life — the source of all things that exist in their world — and scattered them across the land, causing things like the moon, sun and stars to disappear. Watch your child save the Raposas! For ages 7 and up. Read the complete review at Common Sense Media.
Crayon Physics Deluxe is a puzzle game set in a familiar, childlike environment of crumpled paper and crayon drawings. And yet, this seemingly juvenile setting contains a powerful physics engine that turns your scribblings into objects that have weight and mass. The game consists of 76 puzzles which all share the same goal: get the little red ball to roll over to the yellow star. The cursor is a crayon, and you can draw anything he imagines to solve the puzzle. For ages 8 and up. Read the complete review at Common Sense Media.
SimCity 4 carries on the tradition of the SimCity series by allowing your child to be the all-powerful mayor of his own city. He'll zone land for residential and business developments; plan roads, the water system and the energy grid; trade with nearby cities; establish schools, hospitals and emergency services; and create parks and gardens. Graphs, charts and maps will aid his decisions, as will listening to residents called the Sims, a new element to the game. He can name individual Sims, decide where they will live, and then observe how his city-level decisions affect them. For ages 8 and up. Read the complete review at Common Sense Media.
An unabashed tribute to Super Mario Brothers, Braid is a side-scrolling adventure loaded with nods to Nintendo's iconic plumber, including dangerous plants that pop out of pipes, cannons that spit out monsters, and clouds upon which the blue-suited hero can hitch rides. But Braid is much more than simple homage. Each of the game's six worlds features a different time-shifting mechanism that is used to decipher a series of mind-bending puzzles. Depending on the level and circumstance, time might slow down, enemies might move forward or backward, or the clock might stop altogether. Players can rewind the clock at any time and in any level. For ages 12 and up. Read the complete review at Common Sense Media.
Video games have a rating system, just like movies and TV shows. While some games encourage creativity and learning, others may be too violent or mature for your child. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a nonprofit organization that rates every video game, so remember to do research before you buy anything.
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