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Mia's Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Kutoka Interactive
Developer: Kutoka Interactive
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Edutainment/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Hola, Me llamo, J.R. Nip y este artículo está para Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper. Or how about... Bonjour, je m'appelle, J.R. Nip et cet article est pour Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper. Well anyway, on to the review.

It’s never too early to start learning a second language, in fact, the younger the better. That is the belief behind Kutoka’s Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper. This highly interactive game will give your young one a jump-start into learning either Spanish or French.

Mia’s world is a rich 3D environment full of detail and diverse animation, making the game interesting and keeping it from ever getting dull. Obviously, a lot of time was put into the creation of the character models and the surrounding areas because the amount of detail found in this game is far greater than anything I have seen in the edutainment genre (save for the other Mia titles).

The background areas are detailed and show most of the telltale signs of pre-rendered scenes. But the fluidity with which the character models interact with the world leads me to believe that these backgrounds are rendered on the fly. If they are pre-rendered, then the development team gets major props for the blending of the two styles, and if it isn’t -– then the team still did a wonderful job in making characters and scenes with such detail and not bogging down my system.

The music, voices and sound effects also go a long way with helping this game reach its potential. The voice acting helps to bring the characters alive as you meet new mice, spiders and even robots. The music stays in the background allowing you to concentrate on the current activity or on the scene you are in.


In Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper, Mia’s friends and family are taking part in an art show, and just as the winner of the art competition is announced, the winner is snatched away. This just happens to be Mia’s Grandma Mimi.

As you collect pieces of Grandma’s Certificate, Sparklies (her prize money) and clues as to who and why they kidnapped the elderly mouse, you will go through 15 activities that will test your skill in the language you choose. Why do you need to know another language? Because it turns out that during the blackout, which led to the missing winner, one of Mia’s friends heard someone speaking French or Spanish (depending on the language you choose).

The first activity Mia comes across in The Kidnap Caper is for practicing the alphabet and learning how to spell some basic objects. From there you practice colors, animals, fruits and vegetables (using some cool 3D glasses), numbers, general vocabulary, auditory comprehension and much more. Each activity focus on a specific part of the language and over the course of the game, your child’s knowledge of the language will grow greatly.

Another interesting aspect is that, if you don’t want to go through the story, then you can just go to an activity of your choosing, and set that activity to the level or language that you want. All of the activities are available (even ones that haven’t been reached in the Story Mode) in the Options menu. Though if you do this, you won’t have the benefit of seeing the game through its story. If you go in for just the activities, then once completing the selected task – you are brought back to the Options menu.

Along the way, Mia will also pick up various objects she finds lying around. And, from time to time, she will need one (or more) of them in order to get to the next area of the game. This aspect helps with Mia’s adventure feel, and instead of forcing the kids to figure that they need to use the gear to make the color machine work, Language Adventure simply makes sure that it is in Mia’s bag and shows her using the item the way the developers intended. This allows the children to get to the next language activity quicker and allows them to not get stuck or frustrated at the non-language based sections of the game.

Mia will also help you a lot in the game. As you progress, you can ask her for clues or she may tell you that a certain direction isn’t the way to go. This is great for guiding kids to the next area and making sure they have what they need to continue the adventure.


Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper has three difficulty settings (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced), and these three settings are pretty much dead on. The different levels will make the words or numbers you have to spell or identify longer and more complex, as well as various other changes that will make the child’s comprehension of the language more complete.

But is Language Adventure hard? Well, it doesn’t actively teach you the language, so there are times when it can be a pain. Thankfully there is always some sort of clue built into the activity. The Kidnap Caper did a good job showing me just how much French I had forgotten since high school, and how much of my two semesters of college Spanish has stuck with me.

Game Mechanics:

There are a few points-of-interest in Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper’s control scheme. The main thing is that even though this game is a point-and-click, instead of clicking where you want Mia to go, you just move the mouse to that area. I can’t seem to put it any simpler than the game’s instructions, "The mouse follows the mouse."

This was different, and I hadn’t really seen this in any other point-and-click style game before. Though it took some getting used to and there were a few minor inconveniences along the way, I think it helped to bring Mia alive. Instead of moving to a new screen and having the mouse just sit there and blink at you, she followed your cursor around as you search through the area. She was almost always moving and looking for clues to help her find her grandma.

The path-finding system used in Mia’s follow-the-cursor action was pretty well done as well. I spent a good bit of time trying to either get Mia stuck or get her to go in loops, and failed most of the time. She doesn’t simply follow the path that your cursor went but seems to find the best path to where the cursor is now (or whenever the game checks for your cursor’s position).

This feature went a long way in helping the Mia line stand out in my head. The only times when I had a problem with it was when I wanted her to go to a certain area and before she got there, I started scanning the background for any objects of interest. She would then change her path to follow the cursor. This got only a little annoying and only happened early in the game, but once I got used to the scheme, it helped a lot.

Mia’s Language Adventure: The Kidnap Caper is a great game to add to any child’s edutainment collection. It does a wonderful job reinforcing a second language already being taught and can go a long way in a child’s comprehension of a language that they haven’t actually started learning. It’s just too bad The Kidnap Caper doesn’t try to cover more languages than the two.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows System: 98, ME, 2000, XP; Processor: Pentium II 400 MHz; RAM: 128 MB; Video & Sound: DirectX 8.1; CD-ROM Drive 12X; Hard Disk Space: 300 MB.

Test System:

Toshiba Satellite series laptop; Windows XP Professional Ed.; 2.0 GHz Celeron; 512 MB RAM; 24X DVD/CD ROM; 32 MB 3D accelerator.

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated