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My dad loved Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster, but I think most five years olds would prefer playing Costume Quest with their parents. The Kinect controls are too fiddly when you are little, and there are not so many things to do.
We have a Sesame Street DVD that my dad likes to watch with me. I prefer Milkshake or CBBC or my Mona the Vampire DVD but sometimes I do watch it with him. He used to watch it when he was younger, and I think likes to remember being a kid.
There's a new Kinect game which has got him excited in the same way: Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster. I was actually quite excited too when he told me it was from the same people who made Costume Quest and Stacking -- I really liked those games a lot (not to play on my own, but when I'd watch him play and shout out suggestions).
Once Upon a Monster is a Kinect game though, so you control it without holding anything. I'm not sure I like this controller as (because I'm littler) it doesn't seem to work as well for me as it does my older brother. I can still play the games, but it often misses when I make a move, or tells me to move back in front of the camera.
The Sesame Street did do some cool things with Kinect though. Best of these is how it matches my movements with Elmo and Cookie monster -- when I move my hand or leg they move exactly the same. It's the same as Kinect Sports does and I think it makes you feel more in control of the game if you can see what the controller thinks you are doing.
I really liked the Simon says game where you match what the monster is doing on the screen, and how you could use your hands to turn the page. It was a lot less fussy than some Kinect games that tell you over and over what you need to do and then complain when you get it wrong. With Sesame Street, if you get lost or lose yourself on the screen you just wave to the camera to get started again.
I also liked watering Shelby's garden, finding Tallulah's marching band and helping Marco get his party going. The stories were pretty great. Sometimes I found the controls a bit hard to figure out though. Like when you are running through the woods collecting balloons for Marco, I thought you'd move left and right to avoid things, but you have to just lean -- it's silly not to let you control things by just moving.
I think a normal controller would be better.
Two people can play at a time and anyone can join or leave when they want. When two of us were playing I wasn't quite sure who was controlling things - I think we both were but it was hard to tell. Sometimes the game seemed to be doing things without me even getting it right. I think it finishes some levels off if you aren't doing very well -- which is quite annoying if it's just because the controller is seeing what you are trying to do.
The game is split into six stories, each one about a different Sesame Street character. The stories are all quite well written and I think would be best for three or four year olds. The best thing about them though is that they are spoken and written on the screen. I've a friend who doesn't hear as well as me, so it's good that when she plays she can read the stories too.
My dad was telling me that each story was about teaching us something important, I think the TV shows did this too, things like generosity, feeling good about yourself. I wasn't so keen on this idea. I think stories should just be stories.
My favourite bits in Once Upon a Monster was playing with the Puffalopes to make them not so shy, and then matching them with the Grrhoofs. There was also one bit where you have to act out different scenes that then get put into a story (ed: Like In the Movies) that was good fun.
I think stories should just be stories.
This was all a lot of fun, but I think a normal controller would be better. I think they have made it too simple because they know that Kinect can only do certain things. I actually had much more fun playing Costume Quest with dad (which is really cool by the way) and I think that is actually a better story if you are five or six.
Dad seemed to really enjoy playing Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster with me, so perhaps you needed to be into the program to really enjoy it. Or perhaps it's a game that parents will enjoying playing with their kids more than the kids will.
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