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Having been roundly impressed with Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Snow Princess Wii for its great controls and well pitched difficulty, the DS game has a lot to live up to. Perhaps sensibly then the DS game is not a carbon copy of the Wii version.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relativley short time requried to complete a level or two.
In the same way that the Wii version tailored a platform game experience to a very young audience, Dora Saves the Snow Princess on DS provides a similarly well judged game. This combines the interest of the TV series with some novel minigames that are wrapped up in a story about saving the Snow Princess.
Although less complex than the Wii version, the game uses the DS's interface well. All games provide the player with a choice of either using the touch screen or buttons to control the action. There are also some novel uses of the DS micorphone, which happily matches the TV series getting children to call out spanish phrases before they can progress.
Young players will be attracted to the game because of the Dora the Explorer franchise tie in. Happily though, there is plenty of substance behind the brand. Players are soon involved in the plot and egging each other on as they progress through the various minigames. The game cleverly uses its various challenges to tell a story. Each one presents a simple dilemma and a different experience before the player can continue.
The variety of the levels, and the well judged interactions for your players means this game works regardless of the familiarity with said show.
The minigames are collected together into sets of six of seven for each run through. Once you have completed them you are at the end of the story. You can then replay the game to discover different routes and enoucters. This approach makes Dora Saves the Snow Princess on DS more of a compact experience. Players can get through the story in around thirty minutes - and then decide whether to play agian with different choices or to wait until tomorrow.
Young players a exceptionally well served by this game. The characters, franchise, graphics, sounds and controls all work together to provide an experience tailored to them. Although less impressive than the platforming of the Wii game, this miniature DS experience still holds its own.
Intermediate parents and siblings can have a lot of fun here playing with younger family members.
Expert gamers are not the target audience here, and really need a young friend to see why this game is worth its entry price. They will be better served by more hardcore minigame collections such as Wario Ware: Twisted DS.
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