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That's So Raven: Psychic on the Scene

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Buena Vista
Developer: Disney Interactive
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Family

Graphics & Sound:

Two things I like: Having my preconceived notions blown away and being pleasantly surprised by a licensed game. Too many years of seeing low-quality product shoveled out under cover of a cool license would jade most people. These days, it seems like licensed games are just as likely to be good and the number of bad ones isn't much worse than the general population. The That's So Raven: Psychic on the Scene game for DS is a good looking joint with some excellent variety. The surprise for me was that the character models were not better looking. The actual gameplay screens are dense and too small to pick out detail, so Raven and her friends look a bit odd. The cut-scenes and dialogue include pictures that are well done. The location shots are also nice and the mini-game presentation works just fine.

There are plenty of visual design choices that work well in general and will fit with the girlie demographic watching the show. The music is excellent and totally fits the style of the show. I was impressed by the number of different themes available for each location. A special feature allows you to purchase soundtrack music from different parts of the game, so the developers were clearly aware they had a good thing going. There are mini-games focused on fashion, designing and collecting clothes. The worst you can say is that the character models are not very attractive, which only takes a little enjoyment out of the "dress up" sessions.


Who would know that under the hood this is a game about solving mysteries? In some ways, Psychic on the Scene bears more resemblance to old-school adventure games than anything released these days. Most licensed games end up going with a side-scrolling treasure hunt or some action variation or both. What happens here is that you progress through the story by helping Raven interpret her visions and track down some elusive thieves who seem fixated on the costumes she makes. Being able to collect fabric and make clothes is a neat feature of the game, but it doesn't just come into play for no reason. In each area, there is a certain amount you can do alone and then you need to gain access to some area that requires a test or a costume. Both are usually required. The test may be in the form of a mini-game. You can then play these mini-games in the Arcade mode outside of the story. Some of these games are available for competitive play if your friends also have a copy of Psychic on the Scene. Or, you may be called on to find pieces of a costume and dress up to sneak past a guard. Even gathering the costume may take some running back and forth across town. If you need a ride, you can use your voice-dial cell phone to call Eddie. There are lots of little immersive games and activities throughout the game that keep things fresh for quite a while.


There are some mini-games that take a bit of practice and the memorization required to keep track of objectives and locations is a little daunting for young kids. There is a reminder system through your PDA, which contains a list of updated goals and objectives. Having something like this helps keep things on track. The game is pretty free-roaming which creates its own challenges. Making clothes requires some interesting use of the stylus that will be challenging for some players, but it becomes second nature.

Game Mechanics:

The most interesting thing about That's So Raven: Psychic on the Scene is probably the process of making clothes. When you start to sew by clicking on a sewing machine or pressing the A button, you will see a pattern. The pattern shows the starting point, the next point to sew and the point after that. It sounds complicated, but it is basically an exercise of connecting the dots. The challenge is that the sewing exercise is timed and there are extra points awarded for making nice, smooth lines. Calibrate your touch screen before jumping into this and you'll be glad you did.

Other neat aspects to the game include the "visions" that Raven has. At first, her vision is clouded so you have to use the DS microphone to blow away the fog. There are options to control Raven's movement entirely by using the touch screen or your can use the more traditional route. Dialogue means that reading comprehension is required, so younger kids may not get what is going on. I didn't like the inclusion of bad grammar and negative talk from the kids in the game, but it really just reflects the show. It would be nice if someone tried to set the bar a little higher. This doesn't pull down the entire experience, but it comes across as a flaw in an otherwise creative and smart game.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

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