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

American Girl: Mia Goes for Great

American Girl: Mia Goes for Great

Fall 2008 Software
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Producer: ImaginEngine
Price: $19.99
THQ's Mia Goes for Great provides insight into figure skating, while also giving kids valuable lessons in responsibility and hard work. Mia St. Clair, an aspiring figure skater, is preparing for the Winter Show at the Lucerne Ice Arena and the regional championships. She is the only girl in a family of hockey-crazed brothers. And while she also plays hockey, Mia pursues her own passion for figure skating. She is faced with a list of tasks to complete before she can even hit the ice including putting together a skating costume, selecting music for her routine and meeting with her coach.

Whether you're familiar with the intricacies of figure skating or not, Mia gives you a good first-person feel for the sport, making it seem like you are in the action with Mia both off and on the ice. There are plenty of problem solving lessons for kids as Mia tracks down the portable audio player one of her brothers borrowed, selects a pattern and style for her costume and chooses music at the library for her skating routine. Breaks in the story, which occur between the winter show at the ice arena and the regional championships are filled with the entertaining, strategy-based mini-games "Rink Sweep" and "Snowflakes" that test skill and artistic talent.

The game's field of play is limited to the cityscape with inside shots of the arena and various other businesses, but the graphics and sound are great. While the twists and turns in the plot and on screen directions were sometimes confusing for my 11-year-old daughter, she enjoyed putting together a skating routine from the program builder of 21 moves that ranged from sit and upright spins to a single axels and loops. For those more attuned to figure skating or who are figure skaters themselves, the game provides helpful pointers, including instructions from the coach, how to receive an optimum points from the judges and how to select appropriate music for the skating routine.

Mark Seavy   ©2008 Parents' Choice

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