In play

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

A Christmas Carol (DS)

First off, let me say the movie is fantastic. The game for A Christmas Carol follows the events of the movie in scene-by-scene style in which players must solve challenges in the scene to progress through the story. Playing through scenes unlocks mini-games based on the story adding more gaming depth. The game play is fun but sometimes confusing as you find yourself randomly clicking on the screen to try to find hidden pieces. The game also has features that allow you to blow or talk into the mic to move Scrooge around. The coolest feature is the "extras" menu where you can read the entire A Christmas Carol novel by Charles Dickens. You can also link up with your friends to play mini-games with 1-4 players. All in all a pretty solid title!

The Princess and the Frog (Wii, DS)

The Wii version of the game is set up mini-game style with over 25 games for 1-4 player action. Collect Mardi Gras beads to get clothes to dress up your heroine, and recipes to cook classic southern recipes. Also, link up your Wii with the DS version of the game to unlock special items! The DS version of the game is set up as a platformer where you jump and run through 27 levels of movie style backdrops. Play mini-games and complete quests to progress through the story line and cook some of Tiana's recipes with her in her kitchen.

Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure (DS)

Play as Tinkerbell and her fairy friends in the latest story following Peter Pan's trusty sidekick. Most of the game is sidescrolling action which mostly focuses on collecting orbs and purchasing outfits and furniture. In the game you are tasked with helping your friends prepare for the autumn festival and can create 5 of your own fairies to help Tinkerbell out. The game seems like a bit of a stretch as a guy gamer, but with lots of collectability I can see this game becoming very addicting with girl gamers. The coolest feature is the ability to upload your fairies to your Pixie Hollow, Disney's online game based on the Tinkerbell world (which I will talk about in the soon in my next online games review!)

Toy Story Mania (Wii)

Toy Story Mania is another mini-game based Wii game using motion control and multiplayer action to draw gamers in. The game is super addicting and loads of fun, but it feels a bit short. Toy Story Mania includes 25 mini-games and four player game play and includes special 3-D levels adding a new level to the experience. This game is definitely worth a look!

To close, I understand one of the biggest trends in today's kid-friendly games is to default to mini-games, but I want to challenge game developers to expand their horizons a little bit. Take for example A Christmas Carol, which plays like you're reading a storybook. That in itself had me hooked from the start. Try a little harder game devs, our kids aren't dumb, they can handle complex games!

As always, play on!