Sunday, 13 November 2011

Once Upon a Monster

We have just invested in a new XBox 360 with Kinect.  We have a Wii and a PS3 with Move but the fact that you need a controller to play the interactive games spells disaster.  When wielded in the hands of a toddler, we live in fear of our TV getting a remote thrust through it!  Having a Kinect means our toddler Freddy can play by using his body, which is much easier for him...and safer for our TV!

We were sent Once Upon A Monster to try out.  Playing a Sesame Street game means you are instantly familiar with the characters.  Freddy loves Elmo and the Cookie Monster so we were onto a winner from the start in that respect.  He was transfixed from the introductory film!

The game is like jumping into a storybook adventure.  You play with Sesame Street characters along with friendly new monsters as you embark on an exciting journey of discovery, learning and fun.  You get to jump, dance, fly, sing and move with controller free action which makes the game accessible to even the youngest of players.  There are six enchanting chapters to explore teaching important life lessons along the way.

As you befriend and help out other characters, children learn about co-operation, empathy, friendship, sharing and teamwork.  It's all very subtle but young children respond to the intuitive prompts and thoroughly enjoy helping out their new on screen friends.  It is nice to see a game that encourages social and emotional development in such a fun way.  It also gets the kids up and moving as they engage in activities such as Monkey See Monkey Do, playing musical instruments, flying or negotiating obstacle courses.

The game can be played with one or two players and has a co-op drop in/out feature allowing a parent to step in to help at any time, if the child gets stuck on a game.  This is great to avoid frustration and keeps the gameplay flowing.

The disco dancing was my favourite level and it got us up and bopping with the monsters at their party.  It really is a hugely entertaining game for all the family.  You literally become part of a whimsical, living storybook where you interact with zany monsters and take part in a broad spectrum of fun activities.  What is not to love!!

9 year old Kizzy said it was really fun. It was challenging enough to keep her engaged.  She loved the animation, the humour and the laid back vibe of the game.  Freddy was happy to let Daddy help him out and was literally riveted to the screen as he watched Elmo and the other monsters.

Catching garbage with the Grouch!
Daddy helps Freddy.
I think this game has been really well designed to have mass appeal.  Children love it, parents do too. The mix of physical, social and emotional development is quite unique and definitely a good use of the technology available.  I hope more games like this will be developed that are so positive and educational for little ones.  I can't praise this enough as a game for the children, where parents can join in and share the adventure.

For more information check out the official website at


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