Top critical review
24 people found this helpful
Educational and- not much else
on June 27, 2009
First of all, I would like to stress that plot matters a lot to me. If it doesn't matter so much to your child, you can disregard some of my review.
The game begins with an annoying cutscene where everyone is far too overdramatic. This might be funny to young kids, but I think older kids (like the ones in the AGE RANGE, like me when I first played this) will find it irritating. On the sign-in screen, they make it sound like "play the opening cutscene" is optional, but the options cannot be unchecked unless you check something else, and they forgot to put a "don't play opening cutscene" option. Basically, the option doesn't even work.
As for gameplay, a lot of these activities are fun, especially the puzzle games, the ghost crossing game, and, my personal favorite, a sentence-building game that teaches parts of speech. I'm not much of a judge about educational content, but I do believe this would be a good way for kids to review what they learned, even if it's not very challenging for the upper end of the age range.
One unique part about this game is that, to free the missing guests, you have to find three objects belonging to them. You win an object after each game you win. To find out which three objects belong to each guest, and to find out which two objects are red herrings, you need to find "clues". Clues are certain pieces of paper lying around that you wipe off to find a message. The difficulty of the clues will increase as the game progresses.
But, like I said, certain plot deatils have a big effect for me, which is the reason I only gave the product two stars (Minor spoilers below). As the discription says, the goal is to help a green goblin called Rave rescue six citizens that Dr. Dabble captured. After you rescue them, a news story the citizen wrote will explain just why Dabble hates them so much, as well as what happened to them in the mansion. The first two citizens are victims of a love triangle. Fine. The movie star Rave is obssesing over in the beginning cutscene owned a poodle that irritated the not-so-good doctor. O...Kay. But the reason he wants revenge on a particular coach is because the coach gave him a bad grade in PE. What?!?!
But that's not the worst of it. A librarian named Gorky Barf or something like that was kidnapped because he would torture (sort of) kids who didn't return their library books on time. Ouch. But the mayor Jackie O'Cassidy is the worst by a long shot. Apparently she and Dabble ran against each other for class president, and instead of beating him by fair means, spoiled little Jackie made her mom, who was also the mayor at one point, build a highway through Dabble's bedroom. When I read that, I wished I'd left her as a vaccuum cleaner. That's just evil.
Also, there's this mysterious ghost named Lydia. She's probably the best part of the game, especially since her obituary is one of the 'red herring clues' lying around the library and she has her own laptop. She promises that when you finish the game she'll give you the password to her laptop so you can read her story.
I was excited to read her laptop... until I read it. It's a story of how Lydia drives herself mad hiding from what turns out to be a version of herself, and, quite naturally for the scary story attitude, it ends on a total cliff-hanger, never to be resolved. Very scary, and it doesn't make much sense, either.
(Minor spoilers end here)
So, like I said, if plot isn't a big deal for you, this is a very good game. But if your child has an active imagination (like me), you might want to leave this on the shelf.