[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Review CornerSoftware
Star Flyers: Alien Space Chase
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
Though it could have been a little more educational, this program is especially entertaining and does require some thinking skills. This title features plenty of arcade action that is never intimidating, some logic puzzles, and a fantastic story line.
 Award of Excellence
Ages: 6-9   Subject: Adventure/Logic  Brand: The Learning Company/Riverdeep
Review Sections: Product Overview  Technically Speaking  Skills Covered  Educational Value  Entertainment Value  Design  Replayability  Dollar Value
 
 
StarFlyers Alien Space Chase Product Overview
Katie is a self-confident little girl with a huge imagination. After all, she has dreamed up the StarFlyers, a group of sometimes fearless space cadets, led by her Katie Cadet persona. StarFlyers: Alien Space Chase is one of two titles from a new StarFlyers series. The group's mission this time around is to find missing Space Ambassadors, including Madame Slither.

Players travel between Star Cadet Academy and the planets (Funopolis, Planet Cafeterium, and Pipeworks). Along the way, arcade games and logic activities need to be mastered. Players collect special items, such as a broom, and store them in their dashboard. On their way to a planet destination, kids play an arcade game in the "Fruity Way", where they dodge, collect, or shoot at banana peels and pieces of fruit. The currency of the galaxy is galaxy seeds--these can be collected and earned throughout the game. After collecting enough galaxy seeds, children can trade them in for Astro-Prizes. These clever rewards are actually playable little games.

When players first arrive at Planet Cafeterium, which consists of rings of different food groups, they can't land their spaceship without first collecting something to clean up all the ketchup and mustard! Once they've successfully collected the item and used it to clean up the planet's surface, they work their way through the different planetary rings by playing a series of arcade activities. At Planet Pipeworks, children need to rescue Commander Ann Chovy (one of the missing space Ambassadors), who is at the bottom of a drain. They need to connect the pipes, one level at a time, so that she can work her way back up. These levels become increasingly more challenging, with higher levels requiring the need to "flip" the pipes for success.

Although children select one of three difficulty levels at the outset of the game, the program adjusts the levels (up or down) according to children's performance. These settings determine the level of challenge of the educational activities, but do not affect the adventure itself.

One of the game's most appealing qualities is its hefty dose of humor. Since the story is essentially a child's flight of fancy, ridiculous moments abound. At one point, the StarFlyers face a cave filled with animated hairballs, and they need to call on A. J.'s "Bubble Gum Blast" in order to get past these funny creatures. The game's characters are well-developed; and the graphics give a Saturday morning cartoon feel to the game.

Our testers found the other game in the series, Star Flyers Royal Jewel Rescue, a little more satisfying (they felt the theme, activities, and even the ending had an edge over those in Alien Space Chase). In addition, the activities in Royal Jewel Rescue offer more educational value. We recommend starting with Royal Jewel Rescue. If kids can't get enough of the StarFlyers, which is highly probable, then Alien Space Chase will satisfy them. Although children will face some similar situations (Cafeterium and Bowlarama games are especially similar to each other), children will face some new challenges and have a great time as they do. Though the recommended age group includes 5 year olds, we feel that children ages 5-6 will need a little help. The program is probably just right for children ages 7-9.

Technically Speaking
Minimum system requirements are Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium (or equivalent) 166 MHz or higher, 32 MB of RAM, and 8X CD-ROM drive. Mac users require a PowerPC 180 MHz or higher, System 8.6-9.1, OS X, 64 MB RAM, and 8X CD-ROM drive. The program requires 100 MB of hard drive space. Users with an Immersion Touch Sense compatible mouse can enjoy the touch sensation features in the program. A printer is recommended.

Skills Covered
Children learn and develop skills in logical thinking, planning ahead, listening skills, creativity, memory, and more.

Educational Value
The developers probably could have added more educational activities to the game without subtracting from the fun, as they did in the other StarFlyers title, Star Flyers Royal Jewel Rescue . However, the activities that do exercise the brain in this title are educationally valuable.

Entertainment Value
The exciting and goofy story line truly "works". Kid testers thoroughly enjoyed their time with the game.

Design
Although children can choose to play the game at any of 3 difficulty levels, the program also monitors players' performance, automatically adjusting difficulty levels up or down, as needed. Help is always available.

Replayability
The adventure does not change with different difficulty levels--only the activities vary in challenge level. However, the program is highly entertaining while it lasts.

Dollar Value
This package carries a retail price of approximately $20 US.

Released: 2002
Reviewed: July 2002