Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Turbo Extreme Handheld

Turbo Extreme Handheld

Fall 2004 Toys
Ages: 6 - 9 yrs.
Manufacturer: LeapFrog Enterprises
Price: $34.99
The Turbo Extreme is a portable, one-player, hand-held game that combines the challenge of video games with the challenge of knowledge. Players choose from six different "games": Math Factory, Fact Blaster, Missing Letter, Hazard Math, Hazard Spelling, and Hall of Doors, and answer questions to achieve a high score.

In the Math Factory, the player chooses the operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division), the factor to practice, and the question format (straight answer or multiple choice). Hazard Math and Hazard Spelling are timed games with arcade game elements. The player jumps to grab letters or numbers to complete word or math operations while avoiding mosquitoes, turtles and other critters. These games have several difficulty levels. Sound or pronunciation clues are given if wrong letters are selected in Hazard Spelling.

In the Missing Letter game, the player uses a Sherlock Holmes-type monkey to find letters missing from a word. A twist on the end of the game indexes through the alphabet and pushing in the button end of the game registers the selected letter.

Fact Blaster is a basic multiple-choice (and true and false), multi-disciplined, quiz show. It asks interesting and varied questions about many topics including earth science, biology/anatomy measurement, scientists, history (American and world), geography, astronomy, and physics. Because the Fact Blaster was the most popular with our testers, the frequent play determined that the game has a limited number of questions. However, cartridges with additional questions, at each of four grade levels (1 - 4) can be purchased for this game.

The pleasant narrator's voice lends words of encouragement and praise throughout the games with both correct and incorrect responses. Comments such as "Talented", "Amazing", "Nice", "Way to go", and "Stellar" (my personal favorite) help provide a sense of accomplishment. In addition, related facts or trivia are thrown in periodically to make things interesting. For example, in a question about what planet has colorful rings around it, the correct answer of Saturn prompts a comment that the term Saturday comes from the planet Saturn.

An excellent travel toy that can be played with or without headphones, this is an extra fun way to keep math and spelling fresh for the kids over summer vacation.

Ellie and Don Homce   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Don and Ellie Homce are the parents of two sons. Ellie is a former chemistry and physical science teacher and trainer in the hazardous materials field. Currently a professional volunteer at local schools and a thrift shop, Ellie continues to pursue her interests in art. Don is a health and safety and environmental science professional who enjoys building and fixing things. He has been a Boy Scout Leader for the past ten years.

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