Imagine Bad Mojo
with cute mice instead of cockroaches... and no deaths... and no gore... and no bathrooms. Erm. Never mind. Okay. Mia: The Search for Grandma’s Remedy
is a rather cute little adventure/edutainment game where you control a little mouse named Mia (surprisingly enough), who has to get a remedy for her grandmother’s illness. You control Mia very simply -- she goes where the mouse is pointing. No need to click unless you want her to act on something. The interface is clean and elegant, and if you want to move faster, you can use the arrow keys to have her whip out the skateboard and cruise at about twice the speed.
There are all sorts of puzzles and games and such that you have to solve throughout the game, all of them geared towards kids, of course. There are four difficulty levels, and they do make an impact on the game, from how long the games last to how accurate you have to aim and such. There’s a wide variety of activities as well -- from adding the missing letters to words to following instructions with moving objects around on the screen. The various activities make for less boredom, although some of them can only be done once or twice before they get repetitive. Kids, especially the age groups that this game is geared towards (kindergarten to second grade), might not notice the difference.
A few problems come up with the speed of the game -- even on my brand-new system, it runs SLOW. It gags sometimes when I try to move vertically, and the sound and movie often de-sync. But probably the one most annoying thing about the game is the way Mia moves when you click on something. She’ll circle around the area seemingly aimlessly before hitting on the “execution point,” when she starts to move again with a purpose. You’ll want to slap her around to get a move on. Fortunately, the activities and game world is entertaining enough that you really won’t mind too much.
Along the way, kids will learn all sorts of neat things from words to use of magnetism. And not all of it is presented in the activities -- a lot is learned just by clicking on stuff in the various areas. The explanation of a carpenter’s level struck me as particularly interesting. It’s learning without realizing you’re learning. Good stuff.