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Review CornerSoftware
JumpStart Explorers
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
As children play a fantastic game of hide-and-seek through time, they learn diverse facts about world cultures and history. While not as educational as it could be, children will not be able to stop playing this dazzling adventure.
Ages: 5 to 8   Subject: Curriculum   Brand: Knowledge Adventure
Review Sections: Product Overview  Technically Speaking  Skills Covered  Educational Value  Entertainment Value  Design  Replayability  Dollar Value
image Product Overview

A gorgeous 3D-animated video introduces children to CJ the Frog's tadpole nieces and nephews. These mischievous "tads" hop into CJ's Time Machine for a game of hide-and-seek. This perfectly sets up an excuse for children to embark on an exciting search through time for the tadpoles. Players go on five different expeditions by selecting a time and place in history on a Time Line. In each area, there are activities to explore and a tadpole to find.

One destination is South America in 1532, where kids move an emperor from one city to the next, deliver a package to the emperor by navigating a maze, and then groom, feed, and load a llama. Once players have found that expedition's hidden tadpole, they are rewarded with a lively song and dance and an Inca craft (such as a homemade Inca headdress) to print for a fun activity away from the computer.

Children also visit Egypt in 1359 B.C. where they decorate a sphinx in wild ways, and work with a form of hieroglyphs to uncover secret messages. An expedition to Antarctica in 1911 has children answering true or false questions in an arcade-style game and helping CJ and Edison layer up with clothes. They prepare for the first harvest feast at Plymouth Colony, and help create decorations for New Year celebrations in China as well.

As children explore and play activities, they earn points. Kids can trade in 100 points for a sticker and add it to their own sticker book. Over time, children collect many printable stickers.

Families familiar with software titles from the JumpStart line are accustomed to being wowed by appealing graphics, lively songs, and fun presentations. This title delights even further with outstanding 3D characters and eye-popping scenes. The nicely rendered 3D main characters roam bright 2D animated worlds, and this combination works well in terms of both performance and visual appeal.

Technically Speaking
Minimum system requirements are Windows 95/98/ME/2000, Pentium 233, 64 MB RAM, 16X CD-ROM. Mac users require a G3 233 MHz, System 8.1, 8.6, 9.1, 64 MB RAM, and 24X CD-ROM. A printer is recommended.

Skills Covered
Players learn various facts about ancient world history, geography, and world cultures as they use problem-solving and navigational skills. Some early reading and mapping skills are covered, as well.

Educational Value
This program is not as academic as a title like My First Amazing History Explorer, but it is so engaging that children will be motivated to play through the entire adventure many times over. Chances are very high that they will pick up facts and information about world history and cultures due to the title's especially appealing presentation.

Entertainment Value
This title is exceptionally easy to play and difficult to resist in equal measure. Besides fun graphics, the activities are enjoyable and varied, and the rewards (printable crafts and stickers) are plentiful.

This title is easy to navigate and comes with a handy progress report.

After finding all of the tadpoles in the program's five expeditions, children are free to continue the game again. New printable crafts and stickers are awarded as kids progress. This title scores high in replay value due mainly to its fun factor.

Dollar Value
This program carries a suggested retail price of $19.95 US.

Released: 2001
Reviewed: July 2001