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



Spring 2009 Software
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Producer: Sabi, Inc.
Price: $19.99
The more you play ItzaBitza, the harder it is to stop playing. At first it seems like a basic drawing program. A "Sketchy", the kid avatar character, asks the player to draw a house. Simple enough. But then the Sketchy starts interacting with the house drawing and the fun begins. Soon stars start popping up with new drawing and problem solving challenges. Can you paint every part of your house a different color? Of course, to do this a player has to draw a few different paintbrushes for her Sketchy. Want to make the Sketchy pull out an umbrella? Draw a rain cloud and move it over him. Completion of each of these challenges earns a star.

As you earn stars you start to unlock new areas, including Camping, Space Adventure, Country Farm and Haunted House. The Space Adventure presents some fun challenges, from drawing a rocket and figuring out how to make it blast off, to figuring out how to get aliens to their home planet. The Country Farm borders on a hand-drawn sim game, as you figure out how to provide goods for a market. The chickens can lay and hatch eggs, the cows can make milk, players can grow and plow crops and then send them to the mill to become flour. All of this happens on a single screen full of your drawings.

Primarily, this far-more-than-meets-the-eye title is about art, logic, and creative problem solving. The secondary emphasis addresses beginning readers. Instructional text is clearly presented in speech balloons, and players can click on any word to have it read aloud. ItzaBitza is a must have addition to your home's interactive library.

Amy Kraft   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Amy Kraft is a freelance writer, producer, and game designer with over ten years of experience making media for children. She writes the blog Media Macaroni and lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and son.

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