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Review CornerSoftware
Buddy Brush and the Painted Playhouse
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
An overall appealing package, Buddy Brush and the Painted Playhouse is an offbeat and original creative software title that uses whimsical and expressive music in a fun way. The title is best for kids aged 2-3 years.
Ages: 2-5  Subject: Creativity/Art  Brand: Ideas That Play
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
image Product Overview
Designed as a creative experience for kids aged 2-5, this wordless adventure into a world of bright colors and expressive music has an animated Paintbrush named Buddy as its main character.

Young children will be playing this game totally guided by their intuition. Although there are no words — neither spoken nor written — the audio soundtrack is rich with playful instrumentals that truly express the colors and actions a child selects to play with. The CD-ROM can be played in an audio CD player as well for off-the-computer enjoyment. The software is packaged in a special art carrying case along with a 32 page coloring book and some bright and colorful paper frames.

This is a fresh and unique program that children — particularly those on the youngest side of the suggested age group — will instinctively enjoy. There may not be enough activities, though, for kids aged 4-5.

The opening screen is a painted playhouse. Kids click on the door to enter a room that contains a few objects that, when clicked on in certain sequences, will launch the different activities:

  • Electronic coloring book pages with accompanying music that express kids' creations — the music becomes more complex as the pictures progress. This activity can be accessed by first clicking Buddy, the paint can, then Buddy again. There is a full screen picture of a house and garden. Clicking on different parts of the picture will bring up a matching full screen scene that kids can color. Once complete, the small area on the screen fills in with color. Kids are quite motivated to fill up their entire screen with color.
  • Color mixing — when kids click on the paint can, it pours out a color blob on the floor. If children then click on the color blob, they are transported to the color mixing screen. Here, kids are presented with 4 paint cans of different colors (red, yellow, blue, and black). When they click on a can, a color blob escapes and has a little life of its own — whimsical music plays as it spins around or jiggles on the screen! Kids can mix the blobs to make more colors — like purple, green, orange, and brown. Adding black to a color makes the color spotted or striped, and sometimes there's a bouncing black ball in the color.
  • Musical Puzzles — clicking on the painting on the wall will prompt a guitar to jump out of the picture. Clicking on it will take children to another room of the playhouse where there are lots of puzzle surprises waiting for them. This part of the program was rather confusing to the children at first — they thought they had to match sounds of instruments in order to complete the puzzles. When they discovered that their focus was supposed to be on the visual puzzles and that the musical instrument sounds were secondary factors, things became a lot more fun.
The kids had an incredible time with the program. They never played anything quite like it, as they were used to playing games with clear instructions and audio prompts. The older children enjoyed the activities, but wanted more of them. The younger kids (aged 2 and 3) were quite satisfied with the amount of content.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are not available at the moment. It takes up 16 Mb of hard disk space.

Skills Covered
creativity, color mixing, simple puzzles

Educational Value
This title is not meant to be overtly educational except, of course, for the educational value of creative play. Children are given lots of chances to explore.

Entertainment Value
For young preschoolers, this program is very fun to play and uniquely entertaining with its expressive and playful music as well as its original creative activities.

The design of this CD-ROM is unlike most on the market. There are intentionally no written or audio instructions — kids are encouraged to explore the program on their own, which emphasizes discovery and creates a more interactive experience. Children generally need to click on a series of objects in order to get to the different activity areas. (For example, they must click on the painting on the wall, watch a guitar jump out into the room, then click on the guitar to go to the puzzle activity).

The activities are fun enough for 2-3 year olds to repeat often. Kids 4 and older may not find enough to do.

Dollar Value
The uniqueness of the program makes it quite valuable. Certainly, we haven't seen anything like it, and my 2 year old finds the game captivating.

Released: 1999