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

StarFlyers: Royal Jewel Rescue

StarFlyers: Royal Jewel Rescue

Fall 2002 Software
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Price: $19.99
Platform: Win 95/98/Me/2000/XP' Mac OS 8.6 to OS X
The second title in the new space-fantasy StarFlyers series designed to stir the imagination of younger space cadets, this game starts with the series heroine, Katherine Cadell, tripping on the stairs and spilling her mother's jewelry box. Rings and bracelets go flying. And, as Katherine's overtime imagination always does, she flips mentally into her StarFlyer role as Katie Cadet, the greatest star pilot in the universe and leader of the StarFlyers crew-best friend AJ, her transformed super dog Io and the energized robot Klanker. And yes, the neighborhood bully Victor Wexlar is back. When the jewelry spills, he happens to be nearby and nabs a ring. He becomes Katie's archenemy, Lord Vexar.

You won't mistake these screens as outtakes from Star Wars Episode Two, but the colorful, crispy graphics and zoomy animation look great, like the Jetsons Meets Futurama.

In search of the scattered jewelry, the StarFlyers head off from their HomeBase at Control Central to destinations odd and unknown-each posing its own puzzling obstacles and gaming opportunities. First, kids help Katie navigate the rocketship through the Popcorn Nebula, which is like a meteor shower but with big, puffy popcorn kernels instead of meteors. Then it's on to any of the three planets. On Hot Chocolophagus, the StarFlyers run up against the Mallo Monster and his Thunderbolt Accelerator Spoon. Most fun is guiding the Marching Mallows through the tunnels of Chocolate Cavern-a logic and planning game that requires tool use too. The first challenge at Planet Bowlarama is to figure out how to use a giant marshmallow to facilitate landing on the slippery surface. In Aqua Cube, kids can play the logic puzzle Galaxy Clam Game, figuring which galaxy clam contains the desirable galaxy seeds; they can also search for the Royal Bracelet in the five dangerous mazes inside the giant Newton's stomach.

The puzzles and gaming get more complex with each success, so kids are constantly challenged. Youngest players may find it hard until they get the hang of the game-especially since some objects on one planet are needed to progress on other planets. But hanging out in the universe with the StarFlyers is out-of-this-world fun.

Don Oldenburg   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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