[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Review CornerSoftware
Star Flyers: Royal Jewel Rescue
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This program is one of two titles that mark the launch of an excellent new series of children's software. Well-developed characters and an engaging story provide the framework for super activities that exercise logical thinking skills.
 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 Royal Jewel Rescue Product Overview
"Universe, stand back!", because here come the Star Flyers. A new series in edutainment software has launched. Starring a fiesty little girl named Katie, whose imagination is as boundless as the universe itself, Star Flyers: Royal Jewel Rescue pits Katie, in her Katie Cadet persona, against the mighty Vexar. As children help retrieve the royal jewels for Princess Popcorn's coronation, they play a series of educational activities that can only be mastered with logical thinking skills.

Children sign in and choose a level: tough, tougher, or toughest. There's no need to fret over these initial settings, as 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.

Players travel between home base, the diner, and the various planets. As children navigate through the game, they collect special items and store them in their dashboard. On their way to a planet destination, kids play an arcade game in the "Popcorn Nebula", where they dodge or shoot at flying popcorn balls and pats of butter, collect galaxy seeds and caramel cubes, and move their space ship into a black hole in order to morph to the planet of choice.

The logic games are the stars of the program. One involves leading the fearless (but not very bright) army of mini-mallows through the chocolate caverns in search of one of the missing jewels. Children must use tools (such as one that chomps away a line of chocolate, or another that allows the little marshmallows to bounce onto a platform) in order to get to their goal. This activity is enormously fun, and really gets kids working their brains.

Plenty of fun activities and humorous moments keep children engaged. For example, kids will need to activate a "tickle blast" in order to deactivate the Mallow Monster's thunderbolt. After reducing the monster to a giggling lump of marshmallow, players can retrieve his spoon-like device, and later use it to wedge open a malfunctioning door, behind which is an important jewel.

The currency in the StarFlyers' world is green galaxy seeds. These can be traded in for Astro-prizes. These rewards include some printable activities, as well as little games that can be played with at any time. Astro-prizes are clever rewards!

Though the recommended age group includes 5 year olds, we feel that children ages 5-6 will need a little help. However, the rewards will be rich for this age group. 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
Enjoyable games that require thought, logic, and planning skills have wonderful educational value. The ones here are quite clever and innovative.

Entertainment Value
This was a "pull up a chair and gather around the computer" program with enormous appeal.

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 entertainment value of this program is exceptionally high. The adventure does not change with different difficulty levels--only the activities vary in challenge level. However, the activities can be played independently of the adventure, adding some replay value.

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

Released: 2002
Reviewed: June 2002