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

Ultimate I Spy

Ultimate I Spy

Spring 2009 Video Games
Ages: 7 - 10 yrs.
Producer: Scholastic Inc.
Price: $29.99
Gaming System: Nintendo Wii
Take the tried-but-true I Spy seek-and-find formula and fully integrate some of Wii's extraordinary attributes and what you get is an addictively fun riddle-solving experience that problem-solving youngsters will love. This really is how I Spy should be played.

The basic I Spy concept remains intact: Players solve some 40 word riddles by finding specified images and words that are hidden in larger pictures. One thing that's really engaging about this Wii version is that those scenes-10 different and graphically striking environments, from Outer Space and Time Tower to Amazing Gadgets and Music-now are sweet 3D and partially animated. (For an immersive animated experience check out the Aquarium puzzle you virtually swim through in search of clues!) Players can rotate around and tilt upward and down the 3D pictures in search of items and that's a big plus-especially since finding some of the images requires a boatload of persistence.

But what sets Ultimate I Spy apart from other I Spy games is that two or three of the hidden items in each scene become interactive challenges. So players use the versatile Wii motion controller (pop-up directions instruct how for each mini-game) to "juggle" balls, pilot a paper airplane over a town, guide a fish through a fish race, progress a steel ball through a tilt maze, even steer a fly from water drop to water drop avoiding a Venus fly trap. They're all imaginative and fun while working eye-hand coordination skills. Once a player completes a riddle, those mini-games are unlocked in more extensive and increasingly difficult versions in the game area separate from the riddle scenes.

For I Spy fans with a Wii console, this game's a must. And anyone, including adults, who like a focused visual challenge will enjoy this one.

Don Oldenburg   ©2009 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.

Look for this product at:
Scholastic Inc.
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers

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