[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Review CornerSoftware
Noddy Playtime in Toyland
Rating: four and a half stars
The Bottom Line
This charming program features lovable characters, vivid graphics, and fun adventures that will keep children busy for hours on end.
Award of Execllence
Ages: 4-6   Subject: Early Learning  Brand: Knowledge Adventure
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
Noddy Playtime in Toyland Product Overview
Children travel to the enchanting world of Toyland with Noddy, a mischievous little wooden boy, star of the popular television series airing on PBS and BBC Television. Toyland is a 3D world filled with surprises and fun characters. This program contains 12 activities, 5 adventures, and 3 difficulty levels. Each adventure features a cute story line and contains 2 activities. The 5 adventures are as follows:

Master Tubby Bear's Birthday
Noddy's bear friend has a birthday, but he needs to complete his homework before he can have his party. Master Tubby Bear races off to his home, and kids direct Noddy out of his house, along a path, and to the bear's home.

  • Master Tubby Bear's Homework requires players to help spell simple words. On level 1, for example, kids are asked to spell the word "bell" and are given the first 2 letters. They choose from a handful of possible letters. After 2 errors, the word is spelled for them.
  • Dance with Big Ears involves watching Master Tubby Bear's dance moves, and copying the pattern.
A Stormy Day in Toyland
there has been a storm in the night that caused some problems in Toyland and officer Mr. Plod has made Noddy "special deputy" to help restore order in Toyland.
  • Catch the Hens involves rounding up the hens and placing them back into their henhouses according to their color.
  • Fix Mr. Wobbly Man's House requires children to replace the missing pieces of Mr. Wobbly's house. This is a fun shape-sorting puzzle.
A Cold Day in Toyland
Big Ears wants to make a hot bowl of soup but is missing some ingredients. Noddy offers to help, but snow is blocking his way.
  • Go Sledding is an arcade-style activity in which players steer Noddy on a sled, making sure he passes through the gates with the same number or number of objects.
  • Big Ear's Musical Icicles requires players to repeat a little tune played on the musical icicles.
A Hot Day in Toyland
Noddy and his friends are off to get ice cream to cool down on a very hot day. They encounter Mr. Jumbo, whose sign is missing letters that some bugs have stolen.
  • Fix Mr. Jumbo's Signs involves retrieving bugs with the requested letters of the alphabet.
  • Mr. Sparks' Amazing Ice Cream Machine needs fixing. Players must move the pipes of the machine into their correct positions in order.
Trouble in Toyland
Sly and Gobbo have stolen some magic disappearing dust.
  • Mr. Sparks' Bills involves helping to fix Mr. Sparks' bills that Sly and Gobbo have upset. Kids need to help do simple addition and counting in order to save the bills.
  • Squirt Down the Villains involves helping Noddy track, then hose down the mischief makers.
Children collect quarters for their efforts throughout the activities, which are stored in a piggy bank. At any time, players can use their quarters to visit The Fair, which contains 3 main attractions:
  • In Funny Photos, players throw custard pies at the various characters, and when they are successful, a funny photo is taken.
  • Noddy has to prove that he is the strongest one in Toyland in the Test Your Strength Machine.
  • Players get to try their hand at bowling in the Bowling Alley.
At the bottom right on the activity screens, kids will find the handy Big Ears icon that prompts some helpful hints from favorite character, Big Ears. Clicking on the Noddy icon will bring children out of the activity.

A Report Card and Levels option is available from the start-up menu. Here, a printable report is available that shows the levels attempted and completed for each activity. This is where parents (or children) can change the difficulty levels (levels 1-3) for all the activities or individual ones. We would have liked to see this option available within the program itself to make it a little easier to adjust challenge levels.

The graphics are outstandingly vivid and striking. Children testers found themselves totally captivated by the stories, activities, and the adventure format.

Technically Speaking
Minimum reqs for Windows 95/98 are a Pentium 90, 16 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM and 30 Mb hard drive space.

Skills Covered
letters, numbers, helping others and responsibility (social skills), basic spelling, shapes and colors, counting, sorting, matching, memory, listening skills, music

Educational Value
There are gentle and positive educational lessons to be learned in this program. Some of the educational activities are difficult for 4 year olds, even on the easiest level. However, the program is very forgiving and young children still enjoyed playing most of the games. There is a nice range of learning activities spanning over 3 levels of difficulty.

Entertainment Value
The beautiful graphics, adorable characters, and delightful story lines make for a highly entertaining product. Children are also motivated by the idea of collecting coins and using them to play games at The Fair.

Design
This program features help icons readily available, a printable progress report, adjustable difficulty levels for all or individual activities, and an intuitive interface. The only complaint is that difficulty levels can only be adjusted at the start-up menu, and are not accessible from within the program.

Replayability
Replay value is higher than average due to its attractive and motivating gameplay, large content, and multilevel activities.

Dollar Value
Suggested retail price is $30 US.

Released: 1999