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Outwit LeapFrog Guide

24/12/2008 Family Family Gamer Guide
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Outwit LeapFrog




Further reading:
Self Improvement

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The LeapFrog is a more robust, less powerful version of Nintendo's handheld systems. It's games are aimed at a younger audience and usually more overtly educational in their approach. Outwit provides a series of games to challenge your brain staring five clever animals.

It's one of those type of game genres...

Self Improvement games tap into the popular trend in self development and therapy. Experiences as diverse as Brain Training DS and Wii-Fit have popularised the idea that games can be about more than just having fun - they can improve your brain, body and even mental outlook on life.

But why is it any better than the others...

LeapFrog games are unique because they are tailored to a very young audience. The hardware is more Fischer Price in nature, and will take more knocks then Nintendo's consoles. The games also cater exclusively for the young gamer, without having to keep an eye on an older demographic at the same time.

Outwit features 15 fast-paced action mini games that are designed to help build thinking, memory, reasoning and identification skills. The skill level of the game intellgently adjusts to the ability of the player. Additionally, tailored tutorials help introduce new concepts in each game.

Unlike DS games that focus more on the gaming with education being a happy side effect, the focus here is on the educationally merit of each level. I Spy Treasure Hunt has been specifically designed to teach shapes, letters, vocabulary, rhyming, memory skills, logic and reasoning and problem-solving skills.

The screen definition is not as high as the DS, and players often have to scroll around a particular scene while they play the game. The game also responds a little slower to touches from the player - something that can lead to multiple touches and added confusion.

So what experience should I play this game for...

Very young players will be excited to get their hands on a real games system, just like older siblings, or perhaps mum and dad, play. Once player, there is plenty to keep them involved. The animal theme and variety of activities ensure this is fun as well as educational. Playing the first few levels will strike those watching as very similar (in structure and presentation) to popular children's television programs - which is no bad thing in our book.

And when can I take a break...

These games are a little shorter than other Leapster activities, they will take players around two minutes. Stringing together a few of these should enable them to unlock a puzzle piece. Like this, sessions of around twenty to thirty minutes should suffice. Although the game has less content then a more grown up DS or Gameboy game, there is enough o keep players entertained for a good fifteen to twenty hours here. Add to this a degree of welcome repetition and the games offers considerable value for money.

This is a great game for who...

Pre-school and early years players will enjoy Outwit and rise to the challenge it sets them. Although a good grasp of letters and numbers is required, the high level of spoken instruction makes this more accessible than many DS games that rely on reading.

Intermediates and experts will find both the clunky hardware and game difficulty rules this out for them. But then that is the intention of the game, and a sign of its suitability to a younger audience. These players may enjoy Quickspot DS too if they are looking for a similar experience.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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