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

Leapster Game: Creature Create

Leapster Game: Creature Create

Fall 2007 Video Games
Ages: 4 - 9 yrs.
Price: $24.99

Some parents may have heard of the Sims, the online game that enables players to create their own avatars and build cities around them. This title from LeapFrog is based on a similar idea, inviting much younger children to create little creatures, dress them, house them and give them a pet. That alone might be enough to entice some children. But it is missing a motivation mechanism or an incentive system to keep players going and exploring. Creatures are essentially alone (there is no ability for multiple creatures to play or interact at one time) and though they have one-dimensional blob-like pets by their side, there isn’t a way to endow them with personality, let them rack up points, or watch them respond to the spaces created for them.

Several of the games are less exciting than promised. For example, the disco dance game is supposed to allow players to teach their creature how to dance and then let him loose. But the options for movement are limited and tiresome. The exploration station is designed to teach science concepts, but it only offers a few obvious tricks on magnetism and how water turns to ice or gas. The puzzler area is more challenging (and at times frustrating because the graphics are not always vivid enough to see which pieces need to be moved.) The best game can be found in the housing area, where players are asked to rotate and move shapes in puzzles called blueprints. This one of a couple sections where children can choose one of four different levels, giving new challenges to players of increasing spatial skills.

In short, Leapster’s attempt to give children a way to create their own characters should be applauded. Many games lead children down pre-arranged paths, giving them no room to branch out on their own. But the game’s spectrum of choices for dressing and sheltering the creatures is disappointingly narrow.

Lisa Guernsey   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Author of Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age 5 (Basic Books, Sept 2007)

Look for this product at:
LeapFrog Enterprises
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers
Target Stores
Toys R US

Share This