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Go, Diego, Go! Safari Rescue is one of a pair of young gamer games from Nickelodeon - the other being the excellent Dora the Explorer: Rescue the Snow Princess Wii game. Go, Diego, Go! Safari Rescue delivers the same well judged gameplay for very young gamers, and delivers an experience that is as compelling as it is appropriate.
Platforming games task you with getting from point A to point B. The world you journey through is usually based on different levels, and populated with enemies, switches and lifts to be negotiated. As you work through each level you pick up various collectables that accrue score, special abilities and access to hidden areas.
As with Dora Snow Princess, Go, Diego, Go! Safari Rescue is interesting because of its great controls for really young players. Whereas other games aimed at youngsters use the D-pad for left/right control and button presses for actions, this Wii game lets the player control the characters movement by simply tilting left and right with the Wii-mote. This not only simplifies the controls but requires a lot less fine motor control - something children don't usually develop until they are past pre-school.
In addition to this, the game avoids a pitfall of so many other Wii games designed for kids. The Wii-mote's ability to point at the screen is a novel, but really tricky for novice and young gamers to get to grips with - notice how it is absent from the newcomer friendly Wii-Sports. Go, Diego, Go! Safari Rescue does away with this control feature as well, and results in a much more accessible game.
The game itself follows Diego on his journey to foil the plans of an African witch who has turned the Elephants to stone. Along the way - as player progress through the running, jumping and climbing - you meet an impressive cast of other people and indigenous creatures. These all stand out as they are voiced by children, a simple idea that again makes the game infinitely more appealing (and as our kids said - safe feeling) to young players.
This is all topped off by the ability of a second player, be they parent or sibling, to grab a second controller and help out with the various motion controlled events that crop up along the way.
Players will be attracted to the game because of the Nickelodeon franchise. Once they've played a while they will keep coming back for more because this is (finally) an experience they can play themselves without intervention.
The sight of our two kids on the sofa working together to get past a particular level is certainly satisfying. Their level of interaction with each other and with the game itself is a testament to the educational quality of the experience on a number of levels. When I sit down and play the game with them as well, not only do I learn a few things along the way, but again the benefits and enjoyment of the game is clear.
Stages can be completed in around 15 minutes, although as one leads on to another most children will want to play a few in a row. A series takes closer to 30 minutes, at the end of which you are awarded Safari patches for your progress.
Young players will delight with the controls and children's voice work here. It really is like a combination of a kids TV show and a video game. The only themes parents may want to be aware off is a slight leaning towards magical drums and voodoo witches - although all in a light hearted cartoon fashion.
Intermediate and expert players really need to have someone young to lay the game with to get the most out of it. There isn't much of a challenge here for a seasoned gamer.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: